World media on uselessness of G8 Summit(s)


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Hi Blog. Concomitant to my recent assertion that the world media is waking up to how much of a useless gathering, if not an outright scam, these G8 Summits are, let’s collect some articles on this blog entry demonstrating as such. Feel free to add articles in the comments section below, only please take care to include the name of the media publication, date, full text of article, and link. Thanks. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Kicking off with the Financial Times, London:
Pipe dreams and cigar smoke
Published: July 10 2008 03:00

For proof that the G8 has outlived its usefulness, one need look no further than the inability of the world’s richest democracies to forge an agreed global strategy for tackling climate change. The refusal by China and India to endorse its proposed cuts in carbon dioxide emissions renders this week’s G8 summit in Japan pointless. Any notion a club of eight nations could run the world – never plausible – is now so discredited as to call into question the value of all its declarations.

World leaders have since Monday talked about global warming, rising food and oil prices, African poverty and the financial strains of the global credit squeeze. But what use is a “shared vision” of cutting carbon emissions without the endorsement of the developing world’s fastest-growing and biggest polluters? How is it possible to pronounce on inflation and try to tame soaring oil prices without the involvement of Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude oil producer? And who in the G8 has the influence or power to isolate Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, when no African nation is present?

The G8’s problem is that it has become so divided and poorly led that its annual summits have deteriorated into little more than photo opportunities and exercises in drafting bland communiqués.

The severity of the current financial crisis only emphasises the G8’s impotence. The world has changed beyond recognition since the original group was formed more than 30 years ago to discuss economic policy. Financial markets are much deeper and the flows between asset classes have grown more complex. The G8’s influence over the markets has diminished with the power of its finance ministers to move them. Moreover, any discussion on exchange rates, where governments and central banks can still be effective, is doomed to be unproductive while China stays a non-member.

The answer lies in reform of the club rather than abolition. A talking shop for like-minded democracies – as the G7, minus Russia, was – serves a purpose. But it cannot be a steering group for the world. Reducing membership to the econ-omic superpowers – US, EU, China and Japan – would be divisive. Instead, it should be extended to fast-growing Brazil and India as well as China. A “G12” of the largest economies would include Spain and ensure nobody was ejected. It would have the virtue of covering more than 70 per cent of global GDP. Chinese ambivalence towards membership reflects fears it will be criticised at summits. But if Beijing wants to project its influence and act in concert with other nations, this is a risk worth taking.

8 comments on “World media on uselessness of G8 Summit(s)

    Quoting London’s Independent Newspaper
    Report: Bush Tells G8 Leaders “Goodbye From The World’s Biggest Polluter”

    Perhaps President Bush has been paying attention to all the bad press his climate policies have received. Before leaving the G8 this week, The Independent reports Bush “told his fellow leaders: ‘Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter.'”

    President Bush made the private joke in the summit’s closing session, senior sources said yesterday. His remarks were taken as a two-fingered salute from the President from Texas who is wedded to the oil industry. He had given some ground at the summit by saying he would “seriously consider” a 50 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2050.

    But green groups had protested that the meeting was a missed opportunity to secure the radical reductions in carbon emissions that were needed to reduce global warming. China and India, who were among the emerging economies invited to the summit, refused to sign up to binding agreements without firmer commitments from the US and the other industrialised nations to cut their CO2 emissions.

    (Note to non-Brits: A two fingered salute is the “peace” used by Japanese reversed. It’s the equivalent of flipping the bird, but with two fingers.)

  • 80 billion yen down the drain and for what? Security the Nazis would have been proud of, for what? Just so our useless “leaders” can talk about maybe cutting carbon gases in 42 years time! But I’m sure they had some sumptious meals and enjoyed strutting their stuff in front of the cameras and feeling all important.

  • G8 summits have never been more than orgiastic mutual back-slapping, and a chance for the leaders of the rich world to eat fabulously at the taxpayers’ expense.
    Re: the two-fingered salute. For those who don’t know, it dates from the 100 years’ war, when English longbowmen would stick up the middle and index finger at French cavalry to say, “Look! I can shoot you!”
    Something I would dearly like to do to the so-called “leaders” of the world…

  • Amazing things happened…there are no Police anymore on the streets, stations and so on. What`s happened? Where are they? Well, I have to say that as long as they didn`t bother me I liked to see them. When I was walking at night with friend of mine I was glad to see 3,4 Policemen it made me save in case if someone (likely Japanese try to hurt me). Where are they now? Gone to Kobans? Chase bicycles? I see sometimes 3 Policemen (not during G8) stopped old people on bicycle or walking other Japanese, so it`s not only us. I saw this in Tokyo.My pint is, they made virtual Police State for 3 days and…no more Police.

    British media call for G-8 reform after Toyako summit

    Friday 11th July, 06:48 AM JST

    LONDON —

    British newspapers on Thursday almost unanimously criticized the July 7-9 Group of Eight summit in northern Japan, claiming that it was ‘‘pointless’’ and calling for the group to be reformed or scrapped. The Financial Times said the G-8 has ‘‘outlived its usefulness’’ because it is making pronouncements on issues it can only partly influence.

    ‘‘The G-8’s problem is that it has become so divided and poorly led that its annual summits have deteriorated into little more than photo opportunities and exercises in drafting bland communiques,’’ an editorial stated. Instead, the newspaper suggests forming a G-12 comprising the largest economies—the existing G-8 plus China, India, Brazil and Spain. ‘‘It would have the virtue of covering more than 70 percent of global GDP,’’ it said. The Daily Telegraph said the 34th G-8 summit in Japan has confirmed ‘‘that this forum has outlived any usefulness it might once have had.’’ The Guardian said in its editorial, ‘‘What the debate showed up yet again was how inadequately such issues are tackled by a club of rich, largely Western countries. The problem here is less to do with the letter G as it is with the number after it.’’

  • Summit nadir
    Published: Financial Times July 11 2008 03:00 | Last updated: July 11 2008 03:00

    Clive Crook’s blog: Even by the dismal standards of these events, this year’s G8 summit in Japan was a wearisome spectacle. I cannot think that what was achieved – nothing – justified the meeting’s impressive carbon footprint. I will remember it mainly for the quote from IPCC’s head, R.K. Pachauri, who said the developed countries “should get off the backs of China and India” (and Pachauri wasn’t even at the summit; he was speaking in Delhi). Yes, I understand that he wants the rich countries to move first – but is it wrong to expect anything of the countries that before long will be the world’s biggest GHG emitters? I mean, isn’t the planet in peril, or something?


    G8 goes ‘B-class’ as smokers fume
    Japan Times TOKYO CONFIDENTIAL Sunday, July 13, 2008 (excerpt)

    After devoting seven pages of punchy news items about the G8 Summit at Toyako in Hokkaido — including a full page concerning the latest gossip about France’s President Nicholas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla — Shukan Shincho (July 10) provides readers with three pages of amusing tidbits of the kind in which the weekly revels, which is headed “B-class News.”

    One concerns the special souvenir gifts distributed to the foreign-press corps attending the summit.

    It seems at the previous summit in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture eight years ago, the government was lambasted for shelling out over ¥60 million on expensive gifts, which included deluxe business bags, IC recorders, stationery, and a limited-edition “Licca-chan” doll dressed as a Ryukyuan folk dancer.

    So this time they’re cutting back, with expenditures only about one-fourth that of the Okinawa Summit. Participants will receive a bag embroidered in the style of Hokkaido’s indigenous Ainu. In keeping with the conference’s ecological message, press kits handed out to reporters in “eco bags” were made from recycled materials. Other commemorative souvenirs such as furoshiki (a wrapping cloth used for carrying items) and chopsticks were also made from recycled materials.

    Perhaps, the magazine remarks, foreign newsmen who recall Japan’s magnanimous generosity at the previous Nago Summit were a bit disappointed this year.

    Among the local delicacies the foreign visitors could partake, Shukan Shincho continues, was Mame no Bunshiro Kazuno Natto, a gourmet variety of fermented soybeans, which are typically disdained by many foreigners due to their unfamiliar odor and texture, from Donan Hiratsuka Shokuhin Co. The beans also contain reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), an edible fungus that boasts medicinal properties.

    “We usually sell it in 50-gram packs, but since that’s too big a portion for the breakfast buffet, we supplied an order for 500 25-gram packs,” says Masao Hiratsuka, the company’s president. “This natto doesn’t smell bad, so foreigners can eat it too.

    “We’d be honored if the president and first lady of France, where food culture is highly developed, would deign eat some,” says Hiratsuka. Alors, pourquoi non?

    While some local businesses benefited from the onslaught of visitors, rigorous police security appears to have heavily cut into turnover at the area’s love hotels.

    “Usually, toward the end of the month our business picks up, but in June, it declined,” the owner of an establishment in the vicinity of Toya Spa tells Shukan Shincho. “On Saturdays and Sundays we’re often fully booked, but customers didn’t materialize then either. Business is off by more than 30 percent.”

    “With so many security checkpoints, no wonder people are staying away,” sighs a second hotelier. “When they stop you and ask, ‘Where are you going?’ what can you tell them?”

    A detachment of riot police took over an entire no-tell hotel for use as their billet. Up to June 28, the hotel had accepted regular customers in its vacant rooms, but the presence of cops lurking on the premises was a major turnoff.

    “Would you go in a love hotel crawling with cops?” one sarcastic blogger posted…

    Rest of the article at:


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