G8 leaders fail to agree on carbon cuts before 2050 - Printable Version

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G8 leaders fail to agree on carbon cuts before 2050 - --- - 07-10-2009

Quote:Published online 9 July 2009 | Nature | doi:10.1038/news.2009.660

G8 leaders fail to agree on carbon cuts before 2050

Summit declaration says 2 °C warming must be avoided.

Quirin Schiermeier
G8 leadersThere's been a mixed response to the climate deal hammered out by the G8.Wikimedia Commons

Leaders of the world's major industrialized nations have formally agreed for the first time that average global temperatures should not increase by more than 2 °C from their preindustrial level. But the G8 meeting this week in L'Aquila, Italy, failed to narrow the gap between rich countries and rapidly developing nations such as China and India over how reductions in global greenhouse-gas emissions should be achieved.

In a summit declaration to be released tomorrow, the G8 leaders highlight their "willingness to share with all countries the goal of achieving at least a 50% reduction of global emissions by 2050", and "support the goal of developed countries reducing their aggregated domestic emissions by 80% or more" over the same period.

But the declaration remains vague as to how soon global emissions need to peak in order to achieve this goal ("as soon as possible", it says), and avoids setting a fixed base year against which national emission reductions will be measured ("1990 or more recent years").
Divisive outcome

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called the group's declaration on climate issues a "historic agreement".

However, critics say that in the absence of any emissions targets before 2050, the 2 ºC warming limit — now widely considered the threshold to 'dangerous' climate change — will be surpassed.

“Despite all the bluster, the outcome of this G8 summit falls short of expectations.”

Rebecca Harms
European Parliament's Green group

"Despite all the bluster, the outcome of this G8 summit falls short of expectations," says Rebecca Harms, co-president of the Green group in the European Parliament. "A vague declaration on distant targets is no substitute for the urgently needed action. Ill-defined, non-binding emissions-reduction goals set 41 years into the future simply fall short of what is needed at this stage."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the G8 agreement is "a clear step forward".

"This was a very important day for climate protection," she told reporters on Wednesday. "From the United States to Japan and Europe, everyone will now work on the same [2 °C] goal."

Merkel emphasized US President Barack Obama's critical role in adding momentum to international climate-protection efforts.

Governments of 192 nations will attempt at the United Nations' climate summit in Copenhagen in December to hammer out a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change, which requires industrialized countries to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions relative to 1990 levels by an average of 5% by 2012. The United States withdrew from the treaty for fear that it would harm its economy, but has recently rejoined negotiations towards a follow-up agreement.
Uncertain prospects

The prospects of a significant international climate deal at Copenhagen are uncertain at best. China and India remain reluctant to commit to binding domestic emission reductions — which the United States in particular considers a prerequisite for signing up.

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reiterated that his government will not accept any policy that will constrain his country's economic growth before a G8 side meeting today of the 17-nation Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, chaired by Obama. Likewise, Russian diplomats made it clear that, despite being generally supportive of climate-protection policies, Moscow will not sacrifice domestic economic growth in favour of climate.

Meanwhile, China's leader was absent from the forum. The country's President Hu Jintao left the G8 meeting yesterday to tackle ethnic violence in the Xinjiang province.


The Carbon Tax on Everything is the carbon tax on everything Chinese and South Asian. G-8 will tax (erect entry tariffs to) Chinese and Indian goods to make their own uneconomic products competitive, to generate revenue against obscene deficits, and protect obsolete remnants of New World and European manufacture. The Carbon Tax on Everything is about stolen revenue, trade restriction, and political criminality. It has nothing to do with the environment nor has it ever.