Friday 1 February 2008

Rearranging the deckchairs

No Target. No Icebergs. Just global disaster coming soon.

This is the headline from an activist group trying to get action on a shift in climate policy.

Avaaz have been campaigning for a long time on a number of global issues, and are now targeting global warming following the UN's Climate Bali summit late last year.

They depict Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda, with Bush, steering towards climate disaster and call for tough 2020 emissions targets.

"The world sees Japan as a force resisting change. Are we okay with this?" Fukuda asked. The chief cabinet minister suggested setting a target and days later, Fukuda announced his decision. At last, Japan would set a 2020 emissions target.

This is a victory as Japan is a huge polluter and a key Bush ally. Hokkaido, Japan will host the next G8 summit in July.

The online activist network, Avaaz played a role in changing Japan's stance. Global public opinion is powerful, and getting public opinion to decision makers fast.

Avaaz cite new challenges like climate change and escalating religious conflict that threaten our future as issues they take on. "People from around the world are coming together to take global politics into their own hands. Our name Avaaz means 'voice' or 'song' in several languages including Hindi, Urdu, Farsi, Nepalese, Dari, Turkish, and Bosnian."

The eight countries making up the G8 represent only about 14% of the world population, but they account for 65% of the world's economic output measured by gross domestic product.

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