Reading the Runes, part III: the G8 statement

Yet more bl**dy runes. And I haven't even done von S over at P yet. They're piling up.

A word about this runes nonsense: if you want to know what the science says, you just read the science. It takes a bit of effort, but you get the information, properly references and presented. Go look at the IPCC TAR WGI report for example. But with politicians (err, and other stuff) I'm trying to guess whats in their mind, and more critically what position they are obliged to accept, given what they have said. Its quite fun, but not necessarily productive; although what they intend to do is likely related to what they say (in the case of politicians, they don't say things just because they are true, but to let you know what they are thinking or what they feel obliged to say). So none of this says anything useful about the science, of course.

The G8 statement appears to be at http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page7881.asp.

What I'll try to do, for fun, is to attempt to cut out the goo, dribble and ambiguity out of their statement and see whats left (remember Founcdation?), and put my comments in [brackets].

1. We face serious and linked challenges in tackling climate change, promoting clean energy and achieving sustainable development globally. [Hmm... climate change is a serious challenge... does this mean much? If it did mean something, it would be supported by some detail. Lets see...]

(a) Climate change is a serious and long-term challenge that has the potential to affect every part of the globe. We know that increased need and use of energy from fossil fuels, and other human activities, contribute in large part to increases in greenhouse gases associated with the warming of our Earth's surface. [This is an idiot cunning attempt to write a sentence that *looks* like its saying we're contributing in large part to T rise, whilst in fact only saying that we're contributing in large part to GHG's. The latter is wrong (we're responsible for more than 100% of the atmos CO2 rise, not just a "large part"). "Associated with warming" is very vague]. While uncertainties remain in our understanding of climate science, we know enough to act now to put ourselves on a path to slow and, as the science justifies, stop and then reverse the growth of greenhouse gases. [Puffing uncertainty, otherwise vague].

(b) Global energy demands are expected to grow by 60% over the next 25 years. This has the potential to cause a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions associated with climate change. [At last, some quantification, though only of the bits we knew about already. Boring]

4. We reaffirm our commitment to the UNFCCC and to its ultimate objective to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that prevents dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. We reaffirm the importance of the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and look forward to its 2007 report. [Weak; dangerous is meaningless without some measure of the level; affirming the importance of the IPCC is nice but some congrats on its quality would have been better]

7. Adaptation to the effects of climate change due to both natural and human factors is a high priority for all nations... [This just about means something, in that if its a high priority it presumably implies that cliamte change is going to be a problem].

14. We acknowledge that the UNFCCC is the appropriate forum for negotiating future action on climate change. Those of us who have ratified the Kyoto Protocol welcome its entry into force and will work to make it a success. [The Italians have been getting wobbly on Kyoto; if they've signed this, maybe they've unwobbled a bit]

Overall: very weak. Probably means that nothing significant will be done & no policy changes are in prospect.


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