'Historic consensus' at G8 on climate change | world | Hindustan Times
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'Historic consensus' at G8 on climate change

US President Barack Obama hailed on Thursday what he said was an "historic consensus" on battling climate change between the leaders of the world's 17 leading economic powers. "We also agree that developed countries, like my own, have a historic responsibility to take the lead. We have the much larger carbon footprint per capita," Obama said.

world Updated: Jul 10, 2009 02:28 IST

US President Barack Obama hailed on Thursday what he said was an "historic consensus" on battling climate change between the leaders of the world's 17 leading economic powers.

"We also agree that developed countries, like my own, have a historic responsibility to take the lead. We have the much larger carbon footprint per capita," Obama said at an expanded G8 summit in Italy.

"And I know that in the past the United States has sometimes fallen short of meeting our responsibilities, so let me be clear, those days are over."

During the summit, the G8 industrialised nations and the nine most important emerging powers agreed that developed countries as a whole should cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent but the declaration was promptly undermined when Russia said such a target was unattainable and unacceptable.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon also said the summit represented a lost opportunity to make progress in the build-up to a major climate conference taking place in Copenhagen in December.

Obama said, however, that he did not expect an instant meeting of minds.

"And while we don't expect to solve the problem in one meeting, or one summit. I believe we have made important strides forward," he said.

"I don't think I have to emphasize that climate change is one of the defining challenges of our time. The science is clear and conclusive and impacts can no longer be ignored.

"Ice sheets are melting. Sea levels are rising. Our oceans are becoming more acidic, and we've already seen its effects on weather patterns, our food and water sources, our health and our habitats," he said.