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Greenhouse gas emissions
© dpa
G8 leaders agree to halve global emissions by 2050

July 08, 2008

In what was being hailed as a historic move, Group of Eight leaders meeting in Japan agreed on Tuesday, 8th July 2008 to halve global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The groundbreaking deal, brokered by G8 hosts Japan and propelled by the European Union, overcame the resistance of US President George W. Bush, who had refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and who continues to block plans for medium-term cuts.

The binding measures should be brought into the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which will culminate in a meeting in Copenhagen at the end of 2009.

In a statement, G8 leaders said they would "consider and adopt" the goal of achieving "at least a 50 percent reduction of global emissions by 2050." The leaders further said that such a challenge would require "a global response" and the contributions from "all major economies, consistent with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities."

G8 leaders said they wanted to work with the nearly 200 nations involved in UN climate change talks to meet the 2050 goal. The G8 communiqué said mid-term goals would be needed to achieve that goal, but did not give any numerical targets. Brussels, however, has called for clear interim targets.

The agreement was hailed by Jose Manuel Barroso, the head of the European Union's executive body, the European Commission. "This is a strong signal to citizens around the world," he said. "We have agreed a long-term goal of at least 50 percent reduction of emissions by 2050, and we have agreed that we should also set up mid-term targets.”Now we need to go the extra mile to secure an ambitious global deal in Copenhagen," he said.

Fuel and food


Soaring oil and food prices were also high on the agenda on the second day of this summit in a luxury mountain-top hotel on the Japanese island of Hokkaido. High prices for oil and food pose a "serious challenge to stable worldwide economic growth," G8 leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States warned on Tuesday.

In the face of skyrocketing prices, the G8 said it wanted to bring major oil producers and consumers together for a summit to discuss output and pricing. Oil prices have about doubled over the past year and last week hit a record high of $145.85 a barrel. G8 leaders called for increased production and refinement to help slow the price rise.

To cushion the blow, which is taking an especially heavy toll on poor countries, officials have said the G8 would unveil a series of measures to help Africa, particularly its farmers, and would affirm its commitment to give $50 billion in extra aid money in 2010, half of which would go to the world's poorest continent.

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© Deutsche Welle, German Information Centre New Delhi
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