Berlin: The leaders of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa meet in the German capital on Thursday to prepare for talks with their Group of Eight counterparts likely to focus on fighting climate change.
China and India, with a combined population of 2.4 billion, came under pressure in the run-up to the G8 summit to commit to a new international framework on capping emissions to curb global warming.
But both nations have made it clear that they will not accept binding conditions to cap greenhouse gas emissions for fear it would slow their economic growth.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signalled Wednesday he would defend the position held by many developing countries at the summit which is taking place in Heiligendamm in northeastern Germany.
After Berlin, the so-called “Plus Five” nations are then heading to Heiligendamm to take part in some G8 sessions.
Singh said in a statement: “Our viewpoint, and the viewpoint of much of the developing world... is that while addressing (climate change), due care must be taken not to allow growth and development prospects in the developing world to be undermined or constrained.”
The G8 summit has been dominated by diplomatic wrangling on how to fight climate change after 2012 when the UN-backed Kyoto Protocol on curbing emissions expires.
G8 president Germany appears to be fighting a losing battle to persuade fellow members of the club of most industrialised nations to agree to limit the global temperature rise to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
It also wants them to agree to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50% compared with 1990 levels by 2050.
Washington has refused to endorse either goal. President George W. Bush insisted Thursday that China and India must be involved in any deal to cut emissions because of their rapid economic growth.
“The US will be actively involved, if not taking the lead, in a post-Kyoto framework, a post-Kyoto deal,” Bush said after talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
India and China are part of the Kyoto Protocol but do not have to make emissions cuts, a condition which only applies to industrialised countries that have signed it and ratified it.
But German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants them to shoulder more responsibility under a post-Kyoto accord because their rapidly expanding economies are creating increasing amounts of greenhouse gases.