The leaders of the wealthy nations that make up the G8 have arrived in Scotland for the group’s most high profile summit of recent times. Tony Blair presides over a three day summit aiming to make progress on aid, trade and environmental issues. This last item is likely to prove the most difficult. Blair has an ambitious agenda to tackle global warming, which is not expected to find favour with George Bush. It is thought the US president will propose a worldwide effort to invest in alternatives to oil and gas as energy sources.
The US, unlike other G8 countries, remains outside the Kyoto protocol on reducing harmful greenhouse gases. The delegates are more likely to reach agreement on debt relief for the developing world. They are expected to approve a deal to write off tens of billions of euros worth debt to 18 mainly sub-Saharan African states, with another 20 countries eligible later. Aid agencies say even that will do little to overcome Africa’s problems. An agreement on financing the long-term development for the continent is thought unlikely. But as the day’s violence illustrated, whatever happens inside the venue, the talks could be overshadowed by events outside.