German campaigners castigate G8 climate deal

Climate change campaigners and opposition politicians in Germany have panned G8 leaders‘ plan to halve global carbon emissions by 2050, arguing that a much tighter timetable is needed to tackle global warming.

German campaigners castigate G8 climate deal
Climate change activists think G8 leaders are a joke. Photo:dpa

Achim Steiner, head of the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) said the world couldn’t afford to wait until the year 2050 to tackle the pressing problem of climate change.

“The Arctic is melting away as we speak,” Steiner told German radio channel, MDR Info, adding there were increasing signs that climate change was progressing much more rapidly than previously thought.

German environmental group, NABU, also urged setting more ambitious goals to slash greenhouse gas emissions. “The biggest polluters of the world wallowed in nuclear energy fever rather than agreeing on measures needed to fight climate change,” NABU President Olaf Tschimpke said.

Politicians from Germany’s environmentalist Green Party and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) spoke of “pathetic results” at the summit and said the 2050 target is worthless without a tighter timetable to tackle the problem.

Leaders of the world’s eight richest countries who ended a three-day annual summit in Japan on Wednesday agreed on a “shared vision” to halve global CO2 emissions by 2050, an advance on the wording of last year’s G8 summit document, which promised only to “seriously consider” the move. However, G8 leaders are widely believed to have sidestepped several crucial but contentious issues, including the base year for pledges to slash greenhouse gases and specific midterm targets for cuts.

G8 leaders‘ stance on other issues, including spiraling oil and global food prices and aid to Africa, came in for much criticism too. The G8 summit in Japan set a five-year deadline for the major industrial powers to provide $60 billion in aid promised a year ago in Germany to fight disease in Africa. The nations renewed a commitment made three years ago to double aid for Africa to 25 billion dollars by 2010.

G8 leaders also called on nations with sufficient food stocks to release some of their reserves to help others cope with soaring prices and said it was “imperative” to remove export restrictions.

But the promises to fight the food crisis and promote Africa’s development were “much too vague, cowardly and too short-term,” said Ulrich Post from aid group Welthungerhilfe. He added that industrialized countries needed to cut subsidies to their own farmers and end biofuel imports from developing countries. Green politicians Jürgen Trittin and Bärbel Höhn also urged the EU and the US to overhaul their agricultural policies in order to battle global hunger.

Michael Sommer, head of the German Trade Union Association (DGB) described the results of the G8’s Japan summit as a “declaration of bankruptcy” towards the social problems of globalization.


IN PICTURES: Germany hosts G7 summit with Bavarian twist

G7 leaders are meeting in Bavaria to discuss important issues including Russia's war on Ukraine and the food crisis. The event is known for producing memorable pictures. Here's a look at the best images and tweets so far.

IN PICTURES: Germany hosts G7 summit with Bavarian twist

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The Group of Seven wealthy nations is holding their annual summit in the stunning surroundings of the Bavarian Alps. 

The world leaders are engaged in talks at the Schloss Elmau with a focus on Russia’s war on Ukraine, climate change, energy, the global food crisis and rising inflation. 

The G7 gatherings are known known for producing some memorable photos and amusing moments, and this year is no exception. Here’s a look at the best so far. 

When the G7 summit started on Sunday, the southern state of Bavaria became the standout attraction. 

Leaders of the nations involved – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the USA – were given traditional Bavarian welcomes. 

Spearheaded by Bavarian premier Markus Söder, the leaders were greeted by people clad in Bavarian costumes, such as the dirndl. 

It sparked heated debates on how Germany is portrayed to the rest of the world.  

READ ALSO: Can Scholz create a Merkel-like buzz at the G7 in Bavaria?

Journalist Mathieu von Rohr said on Twitter: “It’s hard to imagine what Söder would have done to Germany’s image in the world as chancellor.”

Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, walks past people wearing traditional Bavarian costumes after his arrival at Munich airport on June 26th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Karmann

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, walks past people wearing traditional Bavarian costume after his arrival at Munich airport on June 26th.

The left wing newspaper Taz on Monday led with a front page that included this headline: “Finally, indigenous peoples at the G7 summit”.

READ ALSO: Why Bavaria does politics differently to the rest of Germany

The photo of US President Joe Biden signing his name in the Bavarian guest book to Germany produced lots of good captions. 

Nathan Ma poked fun at Germany’s infamous overly complicated contracts that are hard to get out of.

Commentators in Germany have also been making their views known about the events at the summit. 

German broadcaster BR said in an opinion article that the opening G7 event was “like a Monty Python sketch”.

Writer Max Büch said: “Yes, it’s embarrassing that Joe Biden is being coerced by Markus Söder to sign the guestbook at the airport.”

He added: “But people in traditional costume are not embarrassing per se. Even if taz’s ‘indigenous peoples at the G7 summit’ is meant satirically, the title hits a very true core of the image that the rest of Germany still has of Bavaria.”

The southern German traditions continued with Schuhplattler, a traditional style of folk dance popular in the regions of Bavaria and Tyrol. 

“Bavaria makes up perhaps 10 percent of Germany,” one journalist said in another tweet on the Schuhplattler video. “But 90 percent of people abroad think this is all of us.

Bavarian premier Markus Söder defended the opening ceremony. 

He said on Twitter: “Bavaria is the land of homeland and custom: many thanks to our traditional costume associations, musicians and mountain riflemen for their support in welcoming the G7 heads of state. They present the Free State and our traditions with great pride. It was a great backdrop.”

Like every year, the pictures of G7 leaders joking around and getting up, close and personal have also been commented on.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz signals to the other G7 leaders during a photo shoot at Elmau. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Michael Kappeler
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz signals to the other G7 leaders during a photo shoot at Elmau.
We’d love to be a fly on the wall for the private conversations being held between the leaders. Here German Chancellor Olaf Scholz looks on in amusement at British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Elmau on June 26th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Peter Kneffel

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Elmau on June 26th.

The lack of women G7 leaders was also commented on.