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Plans to halve carbon emissions

Leaders of G8 countries endorse a proposal to halve carbon emissions by 2050, in what appeared to be a boost to the ongoing campaign on global warming, reports Rajesh Mahapatra.
Hindustan Times | By Rajesh Mahapatra, Rusutsu
UPDATED ON JUL 08, 2008 08:24 PM IST

Leaders of G8 countries on Tuesday endorsed a proposal to halve carbon emissions by 2050, in what appeared to be a boost to the ongoing campaign on global warming.

“The G8 nations came to a mutual recognition that this target — cutting global emissions by at least 50 per cent by 2050 — should be a global target,” said Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who announced the endorsement.

But environmentalists played down the development, saying it didn't mark any real progress on the status that prevailed a year ago. The G8 meeting set neither any interim targets for cutting carbon emissions nor a base year that could be used to determine how much each country would have to cut, they said. “The G8 will implement aggressive midterm total emission reduction targets on a country by country basis,” Fukuda said.

Setting interim targets has been difficult because of sharp differences within the group. Also, large and fast growing economies like India and China are unlikely to agree to similar targets.

On Monday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told reporters that India was ready to commit that its per capita emissions would never exceed that of the developed countries, but New Delhi is “not in a position to take responsibility by way of international target reduction.”

The G8 has been under pressure to secure commitments by wealthy nations to push forward stalled UN-led talks on forging a new accord to battle global warming by the end of next year. Tuesday's statement, however, addressed world emissions rather than just those produced by wealthy countries.

Eight other countries, outside the G8, are also attending the summit including India, China, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, Australia, South Korea and Indonesia.

The US hailed the agreement, saying it fits with Washington's stance that all major economies — such as China, India and others — need to participate in reducing emissions, an Associated Press report said.

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