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The G8 Ate While We Went Hungry

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Group of Eight leaders is meeting in Japan at a time when the world is experiencing the jolt of a food crisis and questions are being raised about food security.

All this is happening as the UN has set the goal of cutting global poverty in half by 2015.

The food crisis has been exacerbated by the fact that many countries, the United States in particular, have turned to biofuel to reduce dependence on oil due to soaring fossil fuel prices.

But burning crops to run cars is like throwing salt on the wounds of the millions of people who go to bed hungry every night.

The industrialized countries and large emerging economies are responsible for high oil prices and it is immoral for them to feed cars with crops.

Instead, they should invest heavily in alternative sources of energy since fossil fuel reserves will surely be depleted in the not-too-distant future.

And this is not the end of the story.

It is clear that food and global warming are interconnected. Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, has warned that ignoring the issue “will get you into deeper trouble down the road.”

But what countries are mainly responsible for climate change? Are poor countries in Africa and Latin America responsible?

In fact, the G8 members (the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Canada) along with the G5 (China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa), and South Korea and Australia, whose leaders have gathered at the Hokkaido Toyako Summit, account for most of the CO2 emissions that cause global warming.

However, with drought affecting many parts of the world and storms wreaking havoc in many countries, there are still serious doubts as to whether the G8 countries are willing to meet the commitment they made last year in Heiligendamm, Germany to halve global greenhouse gas emissions from current levels by 2050.

For example, U.S. President George W. Bush, whose country accounts for more than 20 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions, told reporters ahead of the summit that China and India should share the same goal in setting long-term CO2 reduction targets.

Meanwhile, food riots are breaking out in some countries and the situation is reaching crisis proportions.

But will the G8 Summit address the problem of food security for the people of the Global South as our planet is becoming hotter and cars are being fed with agricultural products that could be used for food, while human beings go hungry?

Source: http://www.tehrantimes.com/

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