G8's failure dashes hope for climate and development

Please chip in to support rabble's election 2019 coverage. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

As evening falls on this "G" of a day, all the action has been on the streets. Among the leaders it has all been photo-ops and handshakes. Right now, the first plenary of the G20 is only just beginning with the official opening reception featuring leaders and wives.

Michelle Obama sure looks tall in that white dress she's wearing. But can the gathering go beyond trying to look good to actually doing good?

Hopefully the G8 process is not an indication of what will be achieved tomorrow since the final G8 communique offered nothing to celebrate on development or climate change.

Oxfam is one of many NGO's to offer up scathing criticism of Harper's maternal campaign now rebranded as the "Muskoka Initiative".

"This year the headline is maternal health, last year it was food," says OXFAM spokesperson Mark Fried. "With overall aid frozen, the G8 are just shuffling the same money around to different pots. The only promise that counts is the Gleneagles one to increase aid by $50 billion by 2010 and that is the one they have abandoned today."

The G8 pronouncements on climate change which emphasize carbon capture and storage, nuclear power and biofuels as key elements of a climate change strategy met with a similar lack of enthusiasm from NGO environment watchers.

"The G8 communique is a complete deja vu of what we saw in earlier G8 meetings and latest in Copenhagen. Not much vision here. The good news is that climate change is still on the agenda, and we're not back-tracking from where we got to last year. The bad news is that there is no new commitment to actually do what is needed," says WWF Global Climate Initiative campaigner Kim Carstensen.

Environmental groups are also fearful that the G20 may be in the process of pulling back on the committment to move away from fossil fuel subsidies. This is based on an early draft of a communique leaked a few days ago by Greenpeace.

And even the Governor of the Bank of Canada announced this week that he is worried that an over emphasis by the G20 on government spending cuts without balancing the need for growth could send the world economy into a deflationary spiral.

But with all the fears, the leaders have a historic opportunity to get it right tomorrow. But to hold on to hope for tomorrow, we will have to expect the unexpected!


Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.