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'Energy Security' Plan Opposed over Climate, Nuclear Concerns
Haider Rizvi, OneWorld US
Leaders of the world's industrial nations have drawn fire from international civil society groups after they embraced an energy plan that favors continued reliance on oil and other fossil fuels with no hint of any solid steps to deal with the impending threat of climate change.
Monday, at a summit held in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Group of Eight (G-8) industrialized countries endorsed a joint statement on "global energy security," indicating their readiness to spend billions of dollars on further exploration of oil and nuclear energy infrastructure, despite strong opposition from environmental activists.
The G-8 statement on "energy security" identifies nuclear energy as one way to address global climate change, but environmental activists contend that this cannot be considered a favorable way to reduce carbon emissions. They reason that nuclear reactors are dangerous, extremely expensive, take many years to build, and require massive government subsidies.
Critics say they would like to see the proposed amount of funding spent on drastic cuts in carbon emissions through energy efficiency measures, development of renewable energy sources, and restoration of damaged wetland and forest ecosystems.
The G-8 countries represent just 15 percent of the world's population, yet they produce 45 percent of all human emissions of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas responsible for global warming.
"Poor, indigenous, and environmentally vulnerable communities should not bear the brunt of the global climate change that the rich countries are creating," says Ethan Green of the Rising Tide North America, a group that organized a series of protests in the United States on the issue of climate change last Sunday...
Scientists who work with the G-8 ... issued a joint statement urging the Group to heed its own recommendations prepared at the previous summit held in Gleneagles, Scotland, and pursue sustainable energy growth, in response to the increasing threat of the climate change.
Shortly before the start of the three-day summit, a coalition of youth groups, representing more than 20 countries from around the world, appealed to the G-8 leaders to rethink their position on energy security.
Their statement responded to a leaked G-8 document suggesting the Group invest an estimated $17 trillion in building infrastructure for nonrenewable energy sources over the coming decades.
(18 July 2006)
Contributor Ethan X notes that this article has a couple of factual errors regarding G8 member countries. A corrected version has been posted at Reclaim the Commons.
G8 Leaders Play Russian Roulette with Climate Chaos
Graham Saul, Oil Change International
G8 Leaders released today a Communique and Plan of Action on Global Energy Security that will increase public support for the oil and fossil fuel industry and fuel global warming. The Plan, which emerges from the G8 Summit in Saint Petersburg, Russia, seeks to “create”, “maintain”, “encourage”, “expand” and “develop” hydrocarbon production, processing and transportation capacity. The Plan fails to acknowledge the global warming implications of these measures and the consequences of G8 subsidies to oil and other fossil fuels.
Last year the G8 got together to discuss fighting climate change, this year they put out a plan that will fuel climate chaos. Like addicts in denial, they are putting future generations in jeopardy in order to feed their oil addiction. We need a new energy revolution, not more public hand-outs to Big Oil.
The G8 Communique assumes a massive increase in demand for fossil fuels over the next 25 years and outlines on how governments and international institutions can work together to ensure that this expansion takes place. At the same time, the Communique reaffirms the G8’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But the G8 can’t fight climate change and subsidize an expansion of fossil fuels at the same time!
(16 July 2006)
Whole catalogue of failures leaves G8 looking increasingly irrelevant
CHISTOPHER STEPHEN, Scotsman.com
THE most startling sight at the G8 summit was a small number of anti-globalisation protesters, complete with face-paint and multicoloured flags, demonstrating in the centre of St Petersburg against a conspiracy of rich nations.
On the evidence of two rain-lashed days of arguments in Russia's grandest city, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the world's richest club yesterday ended two days of intense discussions without a tangible breakthrough on the disputes that divide them.
Two key issues - Russia's energy war with the European Union and its bid to join the World Trade Organisation - lie unresolved, with prospects of a solution now complicated by acrimony.
Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, will long remember the humiliation of believing the United States was about to let him in to the WTO - his is the biggest nation excluded from this club - only for Washington to say no over the weekend.
This failure, over Russia's refusal to open its market to food imports and deal with computer and DVD piracy, robbed Mr Putin of the public relations success he wanted for his first summit as host.
Meanwhile, Europeans will spend an anxious winter wondering if Mr Putin is serious about his threat to switch their gas supplies to China after a failure to agree a common energy policy.
As it has done for many months, Russia refused to open its energy market to European firms, preferring to keep its Kremlin-controlled gas monopoly Gazprom under state control. Europe, in turn, stuck to its refusal to let Gazprom buy into its pipeline network.
Complicating things still further was the US's refusal to agree on the reduction of emissions. The result was that all sides refused even to sign the Energy Charter, a document that commits to only the broadest principles.
The truth is that no progress can be expected on these issues, or on the burning question of lowering tariffs in the so-called Doha round of trade talks, from the G8 in its present form. Officials are unlikely to solve problems by phone that their leaders could not solve face to face, because something more than wordplay now divides Russia from the West.
(18 July 2006)
Worldwide Protests Slam G8 Support of Nuclear, Coal, Oil
Environment News Service
Demonstrators blockading a main thoroughfare in St. Petersburg were arrested on Sunday as they protested the Group of Eight, G8, statement on Global Energy Security that includes support for nuclear power. They blocked the entrance of a hotel on the Nevsky Prospekt which was used by participants of the G8 summit.
Protesters from St. Petersburg, Moscow, Minsk, Chishinau, Warsaw, Kiev, Cardiff, and Berlin took part in the demonstration, displaying posters saying "No G8!" in Russian and English.
The G8 statement on global energy security advocates nuclear energy as one way to address global climate change, yet environmental activists warn that nuclear energy cannot be considered a positive way to reduce carbon emissions and combat global climate change.
"Nuclear reactors are dangerous, extremely expensive, take many years to build, and require massive government subsidies," the demonstrators said in a statement.
(17 July 2006)
Other recent climate related protests: