Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The “Group of Eight” met and all they brought back was this lousy tee shirt

When the "G-8" meets you expect that momentous decisions will be made and the results will be posted on the front page of newspapers and be lead stories on the evening news. That this does not happen is a tribute to the uselessness of such events.

Leaders of the group of eight countries; the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Canada, Italy and Russia; met recently in Tokyo, Japan, to discuss world problems but any expectation that some degree of success at solving problems might result would be a mistake.

Of course as one might expect global warming was on the agenda and from all reports that was the only issue worthy of discussion since apparently no other topic was the subject of comment in the final press release. Simpletons, like me, might have thought oil, Mid East conflicts, Iraq, Iran, a depreciating dollar and escalating Euro, economies of each country, and the like, would have also appeared to be of sufficient importance to be considered by representatives of the eight largest economic powerhouses of the world. But perhaps to get into such tedious subjects may have been too tiresome and would interfere with a pleasant interlude in one of the most expensive cities of the world. Of course cost is no factor or the group might have considered meeting in for example; Accra, Ghana or Mexico City (or even Palm Desert, California), or some other place less expensive than Tokyo.

Since global warming was the subject de jour judging from actual reports in brief articles about the conference hidden on inner pages of newspapers, what were the results of the meeting of global minds on the subject? Well, how about this as a statement from the group:

"We support a shared vision for long-term cooperative action, including a long-term global goal for emission reductions that assures growth, prosperity and other aspects of sustainable development."

Most horrifyingly, another statement from the group said they pledged to support a U.N.-led effort to conclude a new global warming pact by the end of next year – which, conveniently, is after George Bush leaves office and either of the two global warming gullible takes office. We who are enjoying incandescent light bulbs, moderately priced electricity and gas, the prospect (at least) of becoming energy independent, can expect that future history books and the soon-to-be elders among us will look fondly back to the good old days when people actually had some control over their lives before control was forfeited to the governments of the world, including the United States.

Although global warming was the primary focus; just so the conference was not a total waste of time energy was also mentioned, but was any energy-related problem solved? Well, judge for yourself.

A report of the group’s proceedings in The Yomiuri Shimbun (a Japanese English-language newspaper) had this to say about the meeting; I’m sure it will give you comfort that our leaders really know how to deal with the pressing problems of the world:

"Leaders of the Group of Eight major countries Tuesday expressed concern that the world economy is facing uncertainty and increasing global inflationary pressure.

They also agreed the world economy is slowing down compared to last year, according to sources.

Morning discussions on the second day of the summit meeting here focused on joint measures to address surging oil and food prices.

Based on the recognition that soaring oil and food prices pose serious threats to the world economy, the leaders confirmed their intention to continuously take appropriate action to address the problem.

To defuse the crisis of surging oil prices, the leaders agreed to ask both oil producers and consumers to take necessary steps, such as boosting oil production capacity, expanding investment in refineries and other oil-related facilities, and promoting energy-saving efforts, the sources said."

As you can see the Group of Eight conference article was properly placed in the news. The out come was as useful as other meetings, the best about which could be said: "We had a useful exchange of views." Overlooked in the Japanese newspaper article was what conferees thought about apple pie, mother, home and country; maybe they can take these up at the next conference instead of talking about how to mess up the world and the people in it.

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