G8 pledges to halve GHG emissions

Leaders of the world's most powerful economies have pledged to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2050.

The G8 group of nations, which is currently meeting in Japan, announced the ambition following a day of discussions on Tuesday.

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who is hosting this year’s G8 summit, said it was “an appropriate and necessary goal for the earth”.

He added that on Wednesday, the G8 will call on other major economies to cooperate with their plans.

“This long-term goal requires the wisdom and cooperation of the entire world,” Mr Fukuda said.

He said the G8 will set up a new international initiative to research and develop low-carbon technologies, and use climate investment funds to help developing countries.

Environmental campaigners around the world have slammed the announcement.

Friends of the Earth International accused the G8 of “spewing futile rhetoric”.

Campaigner Karen Orenstein said; “The G8 countries’ agreed long-term goal is totally inadequate and they have failed to commit to mid-term targets.

“Their demands for developing countries to agree to binding commitments show total disregard for their own responsibilities towards the rest of the world.”

The organisation also questioned the G8’s failure to mention a baseline year from which the cuts will be measured and argued that 1990 – the year used in the Kyoto treaty – should be used.

In the UK, Greenpeace campaigners also criticised Tuesday’s announcement, labelling it a “festival of vacuous black-slapping”.

Executive director John Sauven said: “The G8 leaders have failed the world again. We need tough targets for the richest countries to slash emissions in the next 100 months, but instead we got ambiguous long-term targets for the world in general.

“The G8 could and should have ruled out the scores of new coal-fired power stations set to be built across the industrialised world.”

Kate Martin

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