G8 leaders dither on energy issues

The G8 industrial nations met in St. Petersburg this weekend, focusing on energy security. They agreed to … nothing. Said the group statement: “We recognize that G8 members pursue different ways to achieve energy security and the goals of climate protection.” You could say that. The U.S. and U.K. are strongly pro-nuclear power, and Germany is strongly anti, leading to this bizarre formulation: “We are committed to further reduce the risks associated with the safe use of nuclear energy.” (Can’t be too safe!) On climate change, the nations will pursue “our shared … objectives of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions,” but, ahem, “those of us committed to making the Kyoto Protocol a success underline the importance we attach to it.” The group noted that the transportation sector consumes two-thirds of the world’s oil, but didn’t go so far as to call for increases in fuel-efficiency standards (Bush put the kibosh on that). On the topic of climate change, French President Jacques Chirac said, ominously, “Mankind is dancing on the edge of a volcano.” Others disagreed.