"G8 leaders to set emissions goals
By Roger Harrabin
Environment analyst, BBC News
The G8 leaders are set this week to deliver their strongest statement so far on global warming.
They are likely to agree that the world ought to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050 - with rich nations reducing them by 80%.
The group will probably also say that any human-induced temperature rise should be held to 2C - a level considered to be a danger threshold.
The US has previously objected to such a clause.
But it looks as though the G8 will fall short of agreeing the short-term targets scientists say are essential to ensure that the 2C threshold is not breached.
Environmental campaigners accuse the G8 of willing the ends on climate change but not willing the means.
On Thursday, US President Barack Obama chairs a meeting of the G8 members with the leaders of the emerging economies, including India and China, under a process known as the Major Economies Forum (MEF).
That meeting will produce a declaration separate from the G8. Opinions among the emerging economies vary widely. India opposes commitments on cutting emissions. It has millions living in poverty and considers that the problem should be solved by rich nations. India is suspicious of signing up to the 2C warming threshold because it implicitly puts a cap on Indian growth.
China is committed to achieving a low-carbon economy, but slowly so as to cause minimum social and economic upheaval.
"We have to persuade China that it is in China's interests to move quickly to a low-carbon economy - that will be be key," a western diplomatic source said.
Brazil is the most significant of the emerging nations to sign up to the 2C threshold. "This is extremely significant," said the source. "It is an acknowledgement from political leaders to their peoples that there are scientific limits to how far we can push the planet."
A group of 22 leading climate scientists has written to G8 and MEF leaders calling for policies that would see global emissions peak by 2020, and shrink by at least 50% by 2050.
"Unless the burden of poverty in developing nations is alleviated by significant financial support for mitigation, adaptation, and the reduction of deforestation, the ability of developing countries to pursue sustainable development is likely to diminish, to the economic and environmental detriment of all," the scientists said.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2009/07/06 01:18:02 GMT
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