G-7 may use Internet to publicize green efforts

The top leaders from the Group of Seven major industrialized economies and Russia are considering using the Internet at their June summit in Denver to appeal for more efforts at all levels to preserve the environment, Japanese government sources said April 16.

The sources said the environment is expected to be high on the agenda at the annual summit meeting, where Russia will join the G-7 nations — the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Japan — in Colorado between June 20 and 22.

The idea of having the eight leaders utilize the Internet was originally proposed by Japan as a way to increase the public’s awareness, in both industrialized and developing countries, of the need to protect the environment, the sources said. One Japanese government source said, “The G-7 nations and Russia have not yet reached an agreement on utilization of the Internet by their leaders from Denver.” But another government source said, “We believe the Japanese proposal will be realized because no country has so far expressed particular opposition to it.”

The sources said Japan is proposing that environmental education be the main theme of the leaders’ Internet efforts, with children, parents and corporate executives being the primary targets. Efforts both from governments and individuals are needed to preserve the environment and awareness of the issue should be increased at every social level, the sources said. To that end, environmental education should be strengthened not only at schools, but also at all social levels, they added.

The sources said, however, that the other G-7 nations and Russia would probably want to address other topics as well. The U.S., for example, is enthusiastic about addressing children’s health and Germany is calling for an early conclusion to an international forest-protection treaty, the sources said. “The Internet projects by the G-7 and Russian leaders, if actually initiated at Denver, will not be restricted to a call for more environmental education,” one source said. “They will probably touch on a wide range of topics.”

The Denver summit will be immediately followed by a special general assembly session of the United Nations in New York to review the progress of environmental protection efforts over the past five years since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.