Leading article: There is still potential for progress at Gleneagles

Share
Related Topics

But in reality there was never much chance the US would sign up to a Kyoto Protocol-style agreement in Gleneagles. It is for this reason that Britain, as chair of the G8, has brought proposals to the negotiating table designed to shift the approach in a new direction. And there is still potential for progress at Gleneagles.

One of the items on the agenda is a bundle of initiatives on maximising the developing world's use of "clean" energy. There is likely to be an agreement to encourage new technology that will minimise carbon emissions. The technology route to lower emissions is one for which Mr Bush has a particular enthusiasm. While this is no doubt because it is acceptable to his friends in the US oil industry, it is none the less welcome.

Many of the developed world's power stations are old and inefficient. New techniques such as carbon sequestering - which involves extracting and storing CO2 from power station gases - have the potential to affect the rate of global warming. So too does the development of a new generation of environmentally friendly cars. Hybrid cars are already available, as are vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The role of the G8 governments is to provide tax breaks for manufacturers leading the way in this technology. They should also provide incentives for consumers to buy such vehicles.

Another topic that will be discussed at Gleneagles is how to go about forming a partnership with the developing world with respect to global warming. Whenever the question of how to tackle the rising carbon emissions of countries such as China and India is raised, those countries become agitated. They regard it as an attempt by the West to curtail their development. But it need not be a zero sum game. A G8 deal with China to incorporate carbon sequestering technology on to its new power stations as soon as the technology becomes available could benefit the whole world.

The greatest potential stumbling block by far at Gleneagles is the mutual agreement on the science of global warming. It remains doubtful that the US will agree to recognise that there is a scientific consensus that man-made global warming exists and that it is a serious threat to life on earth. If agreement cannot be reached, the rest of the G8 leaders should not be afraid to isolate the US by endorsing the statement without the world's greatest producer of greenhouse gases. This would be preferable to adopting a meaningless verbal construction merely to keep the US on board.

Kyoto is almost obsolete, although not for the reasons put forward by the Bush administration. The problem with Kyoto is that it does not go far enough. The targets for reducing carbon emissions are too low to have a substantial impact on the process of global warming. And the protocol does not include developing countries. Any reductions would be more than equalled by increasing emissions from countries such as India and China.

This summit in Gleneagles has the potential to make progress. But the truth is that there will not be a great leap forward until the world develops - and agrees upon - a more rigorous and comprehensive successor to Kyoto. And that is not something that the world can afford to wait for very much longer.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

A happy ending for celebrity memoirs

Katy Guest
William Hague with his former special adviser, Christopher Myers  

Who needs special advisers? We all do

John Rentoul
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick