Kate Mackenzie G8 update: Climate change and oil price commitments both elusive

How much will the G8 meeting achieve on energy? A key reference to halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 has already been dropped from the draft communique.

And as if fixing banks, supporting agricultural development and building some kind of pre-Copenhagen statement on climate change weren’t enough, the UK and France are also pushing for international efforts to control oil prices at the G8 meeting beginning today in Italy. The FT reports that Nicolas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown want “oil producers to agree a target price range, based on a clearer understanding of the long-term fundamentals”.

In a joint comment piece for the WSJ, both leaders appealed to oil-producing nations too: “Volatility damages both consumers and producers,” they write. And:

More immediately, we as consumers must recognize that abnormally low oil prices, while giving short-term benefits, do long-term damage. They diminish incentives to invest, not only in oil production but also, in our own countries, in energy savings and carbon-free alternatives

France’s president has previously called for some kind of international oil price regulation, as has the UK‘s chancellor Alistair Darling.

However on this, as with climate change, concrete commitments look likely to prove elusive. Reuters reports:

However, a senior German official who requested anonymity told reporters in Berlin on Tuesday the leaders would not set a corridor for the oil price in documents agreed at the summit.

Related links:

The climate change guide to the G8 (FT Energy Source, 06/07/09)