The G8 Summit: A View from Scotland After a weekend of rallies and concerts on behalf of the poor in Africa and elsewhere, leaders of the world's industrial powers prepare to meet Wednesday at the G8 summit in Scotland. BBC correspondent Louise Batchelor sets the scene for Alex Chadwick.
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The G8 Summit: A View from Scotland

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The G8 Summit: A View from Scotland

The G8 Summit: A View from Scotland

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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

From NPR West and Slate magazine online, this is DAY TO DAY. I'm Alex Chadwick.

Coming up, the Supreme Court changes as seen by our partners at the online magazine Slate.

First, the lead. President Bush is on his way to Scotland with an overnight stop first in Denmark. The president is joining other leaders from the world's major industrialized nations--they are called the Group of Eight--for the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, which begins tomorrow.

(Soundbite of bagpipes)

CHADWICK: Yesterday, anti-globalization protesters marched in Edinburgh and clashed with police a little bit. Since the weekend, hundreds of thousands of others have demonstrated peacefully against war and poverty, and urged the G8 leaders to take urgent action.

With us now to discuss the G8 summit is the BBC's Louise Batchelor in Edinburgh. Louise, the major themes on the agenda for the summit: relieving poverty and Africa and taking action to control climate change. What's the level of agreement at this point between these leaders as they gather?

Ms. LOUISE BATCHELOR (BBC): There does appear to be a good level of agreement on relieving poverty in Africa, but very little--in fact, a large amount of disagreement--on what to do about climate change. But on Africa there was a breakthrough, of course, last month when the G8 countries agreed to offer debt relief on money owed by the poor countries to the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and of course the International Monetary Fund. And that would apply to 15 of the African countries. There also seems to be agreement on a plan to boost aid to Africa in the future, going up to the end of the decade into 2015, by a total of $25 billion.

CHADWICK: All right. Well, how about climate control?

Ms. BATCHELOR: That's where there have been big problems. This is the issue that Prime Minister Tony Blair really had hoped to make a breakthrough on. It has been described by his scientists here as the biggest issue facing the whole world, a bigger issue even than international terrorism. I've seen two leaked communiques that the G8 officials have been working on. The first one talked in very, very robust terms about this massive risk to the whole future of the world, about the big targets on emissions that would have to be met. When I saw the second communique, it had been massively watered down. So all the language about `threat to the globe' had gone, and it was referred to more in terms of just being an issue, a long-term issue, something which all countries had to agree on ways of addressing.

CHADWICK: Do people there think that this is because of US influence? Let me just read you the headline in today's Los Angeles Times: `Bush cool to Blair on climate.' It goes on to say that Mr. Bush doesn't agree with Prime Minister Blair on the steps to be taken on climate change. You know, Mr. Bush is not a complete believer in human-caused climate change.

Ms. BATCHELOR: Sure. Sure. That's absolutely how it's playing here, I'm afraid to say, that the United States seen as the barrier to progress certainly on reducing the main global warming emissions. President Bush is seen as the big stumbling block. And even although there has been a lot of coverage suggesting that American scientists do buy the whole argument, including the one that humans are contributing to global warming gases and to the changes we're seeing--yes, that is the big problem at the moment. And it's going to be the real sticking point at this summit.

CHADWICK: The BBC's Louise Batchelor in Edinburgh, Scotland. Louise, thanks.

Ms. BATCHELOR: Goodbye. Thank you.

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