G8 Emissions Pledge Unravels as Russia Objects
Photo courtesy scottfeldstein.
By Anna Smolchenko – 2 hours ago
L’AQUILA, Italy (AFP) – G8 plans for deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions began unravelling on Wednesday shortly after leaders signed on to the deal as Russia rejected a key plank as “unacceptable”.
G8 leaders agreed to bear the brunt of steep global cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, calling on a broader bloc of developed countries to reduce pollution by 80 percent by 2050.
The aim, agreed at a G8 summit in the central Italian town of L’Aquila, is to cut overall world emissions by 50 percent in order to limit global warming to no more than two degrees Celsius, a declaration said.
“Because this global challenge can only be met by a global response, we reiterate our willingness to share with all countries the goal of achieving at least a 50 percent reduction of global emission by 2050,” the G8 leaders said.
“As part of this, we also support a goal of developed countries reducing emissions of greenhouse gases in aggregate by 80 percent or more by 2050, compared to 1990 or more recent years,” they added.
But the ink was barely dry on the agreement when it ran into Russian opposition.
“For us the 80 percent figure is unacceptable and likely unattainable,” said Arkady Dvorkovich, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s top economic aide.
“We won’t sacrifice economic growth for the sake of emission reduction,” he told reporters.
The head of campaign group WWF’s global climate initiative, Kim Cartensen, said that Russia’s objection to the target was “probably a sign of internal disagreement inside the Russian delegation.”
“They should have, but they don’t have anything in their policy to reach the target,” she said.
The objective to cut global emissions overall by 50 percent also came under fire with a broader group of major polluters, including many developing countries such as China and India, dropping a pledge earlier to halve their pollution by 2050.
Summit host and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said that developed countries needed to be united in the fight against climate change to convince poorer countries to sign on to the emission cuts.
“It’s important to show unity before India and China because reductions in Europe and the US but not in those countries would not be productive,” he told reporters.
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