Feature

What Japan’s G8 summit can accomplish

Will leaders go beyond talk on global warming and hunger?

What happenedLeaders of the U.S. and the seven other G8 industrialized nations are meeting on Japan’s Hokkaid? island this week. On the summit’s agenda are climate change, soaring global energy and food prices, and aid to Africa. (MarketWatch)

What the commentators saidFacing “bear markets, faltering growth, job losses, and $140-a-barrel oil,” said the Toronto Star in an editorial, the G8 leaders “will be tempted to retreat from past pledges and to dodge new ones.” But they shouldn’t.

It’s safer to expect “more preaching than sacrifice, or even leadership by example,” from this “self-appointed elite,” said Bunn Nagara in Malaysia’s The Star. Rising food and fuel prices hit poor countries disproportionately harder than wealthy ones, so the leaders of the rich G8 nations have different priorities.

This year’s G8 leaders are mostly lame ducks, gangsters, and puppets ill-suited to today’s massive challenges, said Max Hastings in Britain’s The Guardian. But they’re better than nothing, and at least these summits push them to up their giving for worthy causes, such as fighting AIDS in Africa.

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