The Irish Times has reported that the Group of Eight
leaders have pledged to work with the nearly 200 states involved
in United Nations climate change talks to adopt a goal of
at least halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
A climate communiqué agreed by the G8 leaders at their
summit in northern Japan also said mid-term goals would be
needed to achieve the shared goal for 2050, but gave no numerical
The statement puts the focus of fighting global warming on
UN-led talks to create a new framework for when the Kyoto
Protocol expires in 2012 and papers-over differences inside
the G8 itself. The UN talks are set to conclude in Copenhagen
in December 2009.
The careful wording of the statement - always the most contentious
part of summit negotiations - was also unlikely to satisfy
those seeking much more specific targets.
Last year, the G8 club of rich nations - Japan, Britain,
Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Russia and the United States
- agreed merely to "seriously consider" a goal of halving
global emissions by mid-century.
The European Union and Japan have been pressing for this
year's summit to go beyond that - and Brussels wanted clear
interim targets also. However, US President George W. Bush
has insisted that Washington cannot agree to binding targets
unless big polluters such as China and India rein in their
emissions as well.
The European Union's executive welcomed the deal on climate
change, saying it represented a "new, shared vision" and kept
negotiations on track for a global deal in 2009. "This is
a strong signal to citizens around the world" - European Commission
President José Manuel Barroso said - adding the EU's
benchmark for success had been achieved.
Global warming ties into other big themes such as soaring
food and fuel prices being discussed at the three-day meeting
at a plush mountain-top hotel on the northern Japanese island
of Hokkaido, where 21,000 police have been mobilised.
In another statement released on the second day of the summit,
the leaders noted that the world economy faces uncertainty
and downside risks, including that posed by a sharp rise in
The group also made a thinly veiled call for China to let
the yuan's tightly controlled exchange rate appreciate to
help reduce global financial imbalances. "In some emerging
economies with large and growing current account surpluses,
it is crucial that their effective exchange rates move so
that necessary adjustment will occur" - the G8 said in the
The leaders also agreed to bring major oil producers and
consumers together in a world energy forum to discuss output
The price of food and of oil, which hit a record high of
$145.85 a barrel last week, is taking a particularly heavy
toll on the world's poor. A World Bank study issued last week
said up to 105 million more people could drop below the poverty
line due to the leap in food prices - including 30 million
"How we respond to this double jeopardy of soaring food and
oil prices is a test of the global system's commitment to
help the most vulnerable" - World Bank President Robert Zoellick
said. "It is a test we cannot afford to fail."
To help cushion the blow, officials said the G8 would unveil
a series of measures to help Africa - especially its farmers
- and would affirm its commitment to double aid to give $50
billion extra by 2010, with half to go to the world's poorest
The summit ends on Wednesday (9 July) with a Major Economies
Meeting comprising the G8 and eight other big greenhouse gas-emitting
countries, including India, China and Australia.
Source - The Irish Times