Deep in the bowels of global headquarters of GM, the G8 Energy Ministers meeting in Detroit has been more of an opportunity for industry to talk to politicians than for politicians to discuss important issues such as climate change, smog and the lack of modern energy services for over 2 billion people in the world. In his opening remarks, Michigan Governon John Engler summed up the point of the meeting well when he urged industry representatives to provide advice and sound counsel to delegates and politicians.
And it seems the delegates and politicians were keen to listen. The G8 Energy Ministers spent more time on their coffee break than talking about renewable energy - something that is urgently needed to address climate change and alleviate poverty.
Indeed, while oil and gas companies had all the access they wanted to the G8 Energy Ministers' meeting, community activists and Greenpeace were being shuffled by police insistent on not allowing them to proceed with their planned activities. However, the determined activists were eventually able to proceed with their plans. As is too often the case, while industry whispered into the ears of eager politicians, activists were addressing the issues the politicians were avoiding.
On Wednesday night community activists held an informative forum which highlighted the links between the G8 and local issues including poverty and racism.
On Thursday, a small rally was held. With a sound system powered by Greenpeace's solar truck, speakers decried the ways in which the G8 is working on behalf of corporations, rather than for economic, social and environmental justice. The rally wound up as protesters joined striking workers at the tunnel between Windsor and Detroit.
The final press conference held by the Energy Ministers reflected the power of the gas and oil industries in Energy Ministries around the world. Rather than committing to stop subsidizing fossil fuels and to start supporting renewables with real finances and real time lines, the ministers' have indicated that they are keen to meet the world's growing energy demands with more of the same dirty, dangerous energy.