As G-8 leaders start their 3-day talking circus on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, four new reports confirm that our race towards economic and ecological collapse continues at an increasing speed:
- The Australian government published its long-awaited Garnaut report (over 500 pages), sort of a Stern report for the country down under. Economist Garnaut’s (not very original) proposal: use the market to solve the climate crisis. Was it not Stern who called climate change “the biggest market failure ever”? What did Einstein say about trying to solve a problem with the instrument that created the problem in the first place? For a good analysis of the Garnaut report, read Geoff Well’s excellent comments.
- Lester Brown’s Earth Policy Institute issued a new Plan B study calling for an 80% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 (yes, 2020, not 2050) and indicating how it can be done. This reduction target is what “is needed” not “what is politically feasible”, says the report. See the problem?
- WWF and Allianz presented G-8 climate scorecards measuring the performances (or better lack of it) of the participant countries at Hokkaido. No real surprises here, but good to demonstrate the gap between climate rhetoric and real action.
- Last but not least, an interesting report published today by the UK’s DEFRA (department for environment, food and rural affairs) looks at the embedded carbon emissions in products and services imported into the country. The study shows that we are just exporting our carbon emissions to China and India (where we buy our cheap products) and that the Kyoto-based national reduction strategies are bound to fail. It demonstrates that real climate solutions will have to start structurally from regulating our individual consumer behaviour. Which politicians will have the courage to address this?