Leaders of eight of the world’s largest industrialized nations concluded their meeting at Gleneagles, Scotland, on July 8, saying they had made progress in addressing several issues, including climate change and nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
In their final communiqué, the G-8 leaders noted that “proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means, together with international terrorism, remain the pre-eminent threats to international peace and security. The threat of the use of WMD by terrorists calls for redoubled efforts.”
Despite this disclaimer and their approval of treaties banning or restricting nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, the leaders ended the summit without agreeing to any new WMD-related nonproliferation measures. They did, however, applaud the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative, under which participating nations have agreed to intercept shipments of suspected WMD cargo.
The communiqué supports the U.S. effort to restrict nonnuclear nations from developing the technology to produce nuclear fuel. But the leaders made no headway in resolving the U.S.-Russia dispute over liability protections for U.S. personnel and contractors working to dismantle and secure WMD materials in Russia.
On climate change, the communiqué acknowledges that it is “a serious and long-term challenge that has the potential to affect every part of the globe.” It stated that “we know enough to act now to put ourselves on a path to slow [down], and, as the science justifies, stop and then reverse the growth of greenhouse gases.”
The communiqué sets no concrete goals for reducing emissions, nor does it promise any new funding. It asks the World Bank, however, to develop “best practice” guidelines to assess and manage climate risks associated with new investment. Perhaps most important, the leaders pledge to launch a dialogue on climate change and clean energy with the larger developing countries, such as China, India, and Brazil.