G8 summit goes green

G8 leaders have endorsed plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2050. Climate change has been taking centre stage during the second day of the G8 summit in Japan. The host country hopes that an ecological breakthrough will enable the Hokkaido fo

The International Energy Agency believes the project will require investment of about $US 45 trillion.

Outside the summit itself, thousands of anti-globalists and greens from around the world held demonstrations on Hokkaido Island. More than 5,000 gathered in Sapporo city centre – they criticised G8 leaders for not doing enough about poverty and global warming.

Other global challenges such as high oil prices, the instability of the world financial system and food markets are also high on the G8 summit agenda.

Soarng oil prices were described as a risk to the world economy, and the leaders called for an increase in production.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev proposed what he called 'grain summits' to stabilise food prices. He also suggested creating new financial institutions to tackle global financial challenges.

“We have made two proposals. One of them is connected with the necessity of creating a new G8 format that agricultural ministers from the G8 countries will take part in. The second one is holding a special session like a summit on grain problems – the so-called ‘grain summit’ – where causes of the price increase will be discussed, and also ways of the possible stabilisation of the system,” said Medvedev.

Dmitry Medvedev also considers the current world financial system ineffective, and proposes making the Russian rouble a reserve currency.

“We have discussed a possibility of bringing goals and methods of work of existing financial institutions to the realities of the day. As for future work, we proceed from the assumption that it is necessary to develop the currency system and the situation with the fairly weak dollar and strongly strengthened euro does not suit our partners,” he said.

Medvedev’s proposals were met with interest by the summit's participants.

“We had a very good summit between EU and Russia recently in Western Siberia’s Khanty -Mansiysk. And I happy to see that this level of cooperation was kept during the G8, because President Medvedev gave a very important contribution to the work of the summit, addressing also the global issues and possible global solutions,” said Jose Manuel Barosso, President of the European Commission.

International issues include Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear programmes and the Middle East peace process.

On the first day of the summit Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev met with George W. Bush. Medvedev said there had been little progress made on key controversial issues between Russia and the U.S., but both sides said they were willing to continue talks.

“We are interested in constructive relations with the U.S. and I think this is well understood by the existing U.S. administration. Anyway, we cannot live without each other,” said Medvedev.

On Tuesday Dmitry Medvedev, in addition to working sessions, has two bilateral meetings: with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Meanwhile, the White House has had to apologise to Silvio Berlusconi for calling him an amateur politician and controversial leader in a country known for government corruption.

The description was applied to the Italian leader in a press kit handed out to U.S. journalists ahead of the G8 summit.

The biography said he gained the top job due to his influence over the national and international media.

The White House press service released a statement saying the biography was unofficial and did not reflect the views of President Bush, the American government or the American people.