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G8 endorses halving global carbon emissions by 2050

Climate Activists Slam ‘Pathetic’ Statement, EU Welcomes It

Toyako (Japan): G8 nations, papering over deep differences on how to set goals to combat global warming, said on Tuesday they would work towards a target of at least halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 with other participants in UN talks.

In a communique released during a summit in northern Japan, the Group of Eight leaders agreed that they would need to set mid-term goals to achieve the “shared vision” for 2050, but gave no numerical targets.The European Union’s executive welcomed the communique, saying it kept negotiations on track for a global deal in 2009.

“This is a strong signal to citizens around the world,” European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said, adding that the EU’s benchmark for success had been achieved.But critics outside the rich nations’ club slammed the deal.

Environmental campaign group WWF said the leaders had ducked their responsibilities.“The G8 are responsible for 62% of the carbon dioxide accumulated in the Earth’s atmosphere, which makes them the main culprit of climate change and the biggest part of the problem,” the WWF said shortly after the communiqué was issued. “WWF finds it pathetic that they still duck their historic responsibility…,” the campaign group said in a statement.

Last year, the G8-Japan, Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Russia and the United States agreed to “seriously consider” a goal of halving global emissions by mid-century. The European Union and Japan had been pressing for this year’s summit to go beyond that, and Brussels wanted clear interim targets as well.

But US president George Bush has insisted that Washington cannot agree to binding targets unless big polluters such as China and India rein in the emissions as well. South Africa environment minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said he feared this year’s communiqué was actually a set backward.

“While the statement may appear as a movement forward, we are concerned that it may, in effect, be a regression from what is required to make a meaningful contribution to meeting the challenges of climate change,” van Schalkwyk said. 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. The UN talks are set to conclude in Copenhagen in December 2009. Global warming ties into other big themes such as soaring food and fuel prices being discussed at the three-day summit at a plush mountain-top hotel on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaisdo, where 21,000 police have been mobilized. In another statement, the leaders expressed strong concern about sky-high food and oil prices, which they said posed risks for a global economy under serious financial strain

Source: The Times of India, July 09, 2008

ENVIS CENTRE Newsletter Vol.7,Issue 1 Jan 2009 Back 
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