A shrug of the shoulders at the G8
Limiting global temperature increase to 2 degrees is a good objective because above that amount the likelihood of runaway climate change (melting of Greenland and the Arctic; release of methane from permafrost in the North) is really serious. So this news that the US is not interested in this issue is depressing. Not that communiques coming out of the G8 should be believed anyway, but these guys are not even interested in appearing to do the right thing.
Why? Perhaps because, to the extent they believe that climate change is happening, the worst outcomes will happen in the poorest countries, mostly in Africa. And we all know the G8’s record in Africa: the Global Fund on AIDS remains woefully underfunded despite promises a few summits back (the US spending on the Iraq War makes the Global Fund look like small change).
A leaked draft of the Communique I saw a month ago had it more focussed on expanding investor rights through pressing for greater liberalization of Southern markets and ever-stronger protection of intellectual property rights. At the risk of sounding too cynical, this is what the G8 summits are really about; the other humanitarian and human rights stuff that gets the headlines (like canceling the debts of the poorest countries) is fluff for the final public group hug that they never intend on delivering on.