China and India reject G8 climate target


China and India have led a revolt by five developing countries to the target for emission cuts agreed this week by the G8 group of rich industrial countries.

The two rapidly-growing Asian countries have objected that a cutdown in the use of fossil fuels would curb their economic growth. Leaders from five major developing countries - China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa - have made clear that they do not endorse the call to them by the G8 call to share its ''vision'' of a 50pc drop in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 (Click Here).

They have, instead, adopted what they call a ''common, but differentiated'' approach to addressing the issue of global warming.

The five made clear that they did not accept numerical targets, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official told reporters after a joint meeting between the G8 and a number of other major major economic powers, including the five rebels.

Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh is reported as saying that economic growth must take priority over climate change measures in developing countries such as his own. "The first and overriding priority of all developing countries is poverty eradication" - he said in a statement. "Sustained and accelerated economic growth is, therefore, critical for all developing countries and we cannot, for the present, even consider quantitative restrictions on our emissions.''

Australia, Indonesia and South Korea, which were also at the meeting, supported the 2050 target set by the G8, the Japanese official said.

In the wake of the rebellion, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said that negotiations between developed and developing countries over responsibilities towards action to combat climate change "should not be seen as a dispute".

Mr Barroso said that the G8's adoption of a 50pc reduction target by 2050 represented "significant progress". "It is quite wrong to see this in terms of a confrontation between developed and developing countries" - he said. "Of course we accept the lion's share of responsibility, but this is a global challenge which requires a global response."

Barroso also said that states must recognise that there is "no contradiction" between economic growth and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. "In the EU since 1990, the economy has grown by 25 percent and we have cut emissions by 8 percent. The science is there, the economic rationale is there and public opinion demands action."