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L’Aquila Summit: G8 In Time Of Doubt

  • July 11th, 2009
  • Posted by 7thmin

g8-2009-venue.jpgThe so-called G8 summit in the earthquake-devastated Italian town of L’Aquila ended on the weekend on a note of pessimism about climate change, with hope for some improvements in world food supply – and under fire from protestors.

While called together by the core group of eight leading industrial nations, heads of government from 38 countries met for the three-day gathering (8-10.7.09).


They approved a target of containing global warming to a maximum of two-degrees on pre-industrial levels, up to 2020.

It was a new commitment for four of the eight (Canada, Japan, Russia and the United States), catching them up with undertakings already made  by the European members (France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom – and the European union); but it met scepticism in many quarters.

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon had been calling for “ambitious” measures and declared not enough had been put forward.

The Chinese and Indian governments continued to hold out for payments, to them, from the industrialised West, if they were to commit their massive carbon-producing economies, and populations, to this fight for the planet.

The get-together at L’Aquila was one more step in the serious, high-level push for a global agreement on controlling climate change, at the world conference set for Copenhagen in December, (see EUAustralia; “More Copenhagen …”, 18.6.09; “Huge push on Copenhagen”, 13.6.09).


Among delegates feeling uneasy this week about the chances of success, the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, disclosed his concerns about an agreement being made, saying he was “quite worried about it.”

“We are currently not on track to get to Copenhagen”, he told the gathering.

Mr Rudd at the G8 promoted the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, the Australian-based project to sponsor research into keeping carbon that is produced, out of the atmosphere.

He had earlier been to Germany for bilateral talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel, and to Rome for a meeting with Pope Benedict XV1, which took in the prospective Sainthood of the Australian religious, Mother Mary MacKillop.

In L’Aquila he pledged A$1.5-million towards the restoration project for the mediaeval  city, possibly for construction  of a school.


As urgent this week as climate change, the precarious world food supply, and the rising cost of it, saw the G8 countries line up to pledge $US 20-billion (A$25.5-billion,, 11.7.09), in food aid – stressing they would move more towards supporting  agriculture, over continuous emergency food aid programs.

President Barack Obama said his government would provide $US3.5-billion of the total, in what he saw as the start of a fresh spirit of commitment.

“The United States has sometimes fallen short of meeting our responsibilities … Those days are over”, he said.

The heads of government missed a planned “family photo” shoot, breaking up a little early in a mild security scuffle.

Guards showed concern that some of the 5000 protestors they’d been watching in l’Aquila might have got through the cordon around the summit; the protest groups included international opponents of the G8 process and local people wanting more urgent action on restoring their town.


Denis Barnett, “Despite Obama’s pledge, G8 makes little headway on global warming”, AFP, Aquila, 11.7.09.

G8 Summit 2009, home, http://www.g8italia09 …, (11.7.09).

G8 venue, L’Aquila – G8