G-8 leaders agree to ‘substantial’ reductions in greenhouse gases

G-8 leaders agree to ‘substantial’ reductions in greenhouse gases
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First Published: Fri, Jun 08 2007. 12 19 AM IST
Updated: Fri, Jun 08 2007. 12 19 AM IST
Heiligendamm: World leaders meeting in Germany have agreed to pursue “substantial” cuts in greenhouse gases, Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the host nation, said on Thursday.
Group of Eight (G-8) powers failed to overcome US resistance to committing to specific numerical targets to curb global warming, but did refer to the goal of some countries of cutting emissions by 50% by 2050.
“In terms of targets, we agreed on clear language... that recognises that (rises in) CO2 emissions must first be stopped and then followed by substantial reductions,” Merkel told reporters at the G8 summit in the Baltic coast resort of Heiligendamm.
The summit text confirmed that the world’s leading industrialized nations would act to stem the rise in global warming gases, followed by “substantial” reductions, the most serious commitment to action on the issue by the US, the world’s largest global warmer.
Washington had resisted attempts by Merkel to set a firm goal for cuts needed to combat a warming of the earth’s surface that scientists say risks swelling sea levels and causing more droughts and floods.
But she secured a partial victory by securing an inclusion of the target in the text.
The European Union believes 50% cuts are needed to ensure that global temperatures do not rise more than two degress Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a threshold it says will trigger “dangerous” changes in the climate system.
Merkel is hosting three days of talks at the Baltic coast resort with counterparts from Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Russia and the US.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, bitterly opposed to a US missile shield in Europe, told President Bush on Thursday that Moscow would drop its objections if the radar-based system were installed in Azerbaijan.
Putin told Bush he wouldn’t seek to retarget Russian missiles on Europe if the US agreed to put the system in the central Asian nation of Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic. US National Security Adviser Steve Hadley called it an “interesting proposal”.
“Let’s let our experts have a look at it,” Hadley said.
Bush has proposed putting the radar and rockets in the Czech Republic and Poland.
“This will create grounds for common work,” Putin told Bush as they met on the sidelines of a summit of the world’s eight major industrialized democracies being held at this seaside resort. Bush, speaking before Putin, said that the Russian president had presented some interesting suggestions and that they would pursue the issue during two days of talks beginning 1 July in Kennebunkport, Maine, at the Bush family’s oceanfront compound.
Putin’s proposal to put the system in Azerbaijan was a surprise. The Russian leader said the proposed relocation would alleviate Russia’s concerns about a missile shield based in Europe.
Hadley didn’t rule out the possibility that the end result would be some mix of the Russian and the US proposals. “We asked the Russians to cooperate with us on missile defense, and what we got was a willingness to do so,” Hadley said after the Bush-Putin meeting.
Earlier in the day, Bush had sought to calm tensions with Moscow ahead of his meeting with Putin. “I repeat Russia’s not a threat, they’re not a military threat, they’re not something that we ought to be hyperventilating about,” Bush said. “What we ought to be doing is figuring out ways to work together.” Reuters
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First Published: Fri, Jun 08 2007. 12 19 AM IST
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