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British expert cynical of G8 consensus on climate change
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09:47, July 06, 2008

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There would be no broad consensus on climate change in the coming summit of the Group of Eight (G8) scheduled next week in Japan, said Alexander Neill, a British expert.

"I am a little bit cynical about the possibility of broad consensus about climate change," said Neill, head of the Asia Program in the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies, in a recent interview with Xinhua.

The issue of climate change had not been "fully communicated" among the eight powers, and there had not been a "consensus", Neill said.

According to the expert, big difference stands in the way of developed and developing countries.

"The West is trying to dictate how the developing world should address the climate change issue, so there is an argument about adaptation on mitigation."

"It is very clear that countries like China and India do not want to be dictated on how to go about changing their infrastructure. This is mainly because, to feed their economies, they need to consume energy," he said.

"So to be told that you have to curb your energy consumption because of a problem that actually started in the West would be hypocritical," Neill said.

Even the U.S. and European countries have "a big difference" over the issue, he said.

There seems to be unity over the dangers of climate change in Europe, said the professor, but the U.S. only started recently to think about the reality of climate change for domestic security.

"Because of oil industries and commercial pressures, the United States have been quite reticent about addressing the issue. Only recently had the Bush administration started to consider the impact of long-term climate change," he said.

"The United States will be pushing its own agenda, they certainly do not want to have another Kyoto Protocol scenario, they came out of that feeling very uncomfortable."

The professor expected the G8 summit would also discuss issues of the recent financial problems, food crisis and energy price hikes.

"The primary issue of concern would be the financial disturbance in America, in Europe, and the knock-on effects on global markets," he said.

Due to the recent U.S. subprime mortgage crisis, Britain and other European countries were suffering from "knock-on effects", causing a wide-spread inflation on many commodities, especially on food and oil, the chief said.

"One of the major discussions will be: can there be a global effort among the industrialized nations to somehow curb inflation."

If the inflation pressure continues to rise, it will cast a serious impact on the developing world, creating a vicious cycle, even resulting in political instability, predicted the expert.

Neill called the G8 "an elite club", voicing fear that the club might create a "West elitism against the developing world". As some developing countries rise, particularly some in Asia, the G8 nations need to strengthen dialogue with the developing countries." It's very important to coordinate understanding between these countries," the professor said.

Source: Xinhua

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