At the same time a lower profile campaign was being run by a number of environmental organisations to raise awareness of the dangers of climate change, this being the second major "social" strand of the G8 summit. Both groups had extremely valid claims on the time of the assembled government heads and ministers.
In the event, the London bombings of July 7 provided a terrible distraction, in more ways than one, from the stated aims of the summit. Terrorism rose to the top of the agenda and both the poverty agenda and, even more so, the climate change one, were pushed downwards to the point they had become sadly accustomed to for decades.
Definitions of poverty vary widely, but all agree that those in poverty are lacking that which those that have a reasonable standard of living have. In order to take, for the sake of argument, the inhabitants of a nation out of poverty, that nation must reach a level of development such that it can feed, clothe, shelter, warm and provide basic rights for its people.
Without energy it is virtually impossible for a nation to take itself out of a state of poverty.
And there is the link.
Energy is getting more expensive. In 2006 the price of crude oil hit $70 a barrel; it won't be long before it hits $100 a barrel. Countries such as the UK that have been used to rich local sources of oil and gas are increasingly having to import energy. Rapidly growing, and potentially vastly rich nations such as China and India are seeing energy demand rise at an increasing rate. In short, the nations with the money to buy energy will buy it, and those that have neither natural sources of energy nor the monetary wealth to buy it will be left out in the cold, in a state of energy poverty.
There are a few solutions, but they lead to essentially the same point.
One solution is to cap to amount of energy, per head of population, that a nation is allowed to use. In this scenario, in order to ensure prices do not inexorably rise, energy trading is banned. With an enforced cap on energy use, enough to provide a basic standard of living for all inhabitants, energy use in rich (or rather, profligate) nations will fall, and as prices fall the poorer nations can afford to buy energy to provide their people with a basic standard of living too.
Three problems here. Firstly, the existing energy use in profligate nations is so high that the enforced drop in usage may trigger social unrest and political instability. Secondly, the energy sources will continue to run out at a level defined by the overall global energy budget allowed. Finally, no government in the western(ised) world, would agree to such a solution.
So we are faced with a huge gap between need and possibility that has to be broached. Technology is certainly one way around it, and a solution in itself. Renewable energy has just as much, if not more, potential in developing nations as in developed. Truly sustainable methods of agriculture, manufacturing, transport, construction and so on, can provide a remarkable solution to the lack of energy and wealth in poor nations. But in the end it is down to the willingness of governments, companies and, most importantly, entire populations to accept that we cannot sustain the enormous imbalance and high level of consumption that exists today.
Unless the need to solve the problem of unbalanced and uncertain energy demand and supply is addressed urgently, we are likely to see runaway climate change, energy wars, mass starvation and ultimately the uncontrolled collapse of society. After that, things will balance out nicely.
So, for the future of the world's poor, and the future of the planet, we must Make Energy Poverty History.