The Group of Eight major powers agreed on July 8 to at least halve global carbon emissions by 2050, in what leaders hailed as a breakthrough but environmentalists called toothless. The leaders of the G8 -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the U.S. -- said they shared a "vision" of reducing emissions by at least 50% by 2050.
But in a nod to President Bush, the G8 leaders also called on major developing nations to join them in cutting emissions, something the U.S. leader has insisted is necessary.
The G8 nations also said they would each set their own interim targets for curbing greenhouse gas emissions for a still unspecified amount of time after the Kyoto Protocol's obligations expire in 2012.
The Group of Eight powers discussed biofuels, with concern growing that the rise in their use is helping to drive world food prices higher and add to global warming.
But environmentalists said the progress was far too little to gloat about. "If after a year's work all you have is a 'shared vision' instead of 'seriously considering,' it's pretty pathetic," said Kim Carstensen, head of the WWF's Global Climate Initiative.
The G8 leaders issued a statement warning that soaring oil and food prices pose a "serious challenge" to world economic growth and calling for boosted crude oil production capacity. "The world economy is now facing uncertainty and downside risks persist," the group said. The leaders warned that soaring oil and food prices pose a "serious challenge" to world economic growth, calling for boosted crude production capacity.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008