Fri, Jul 10, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Major industrial powers agree on global warming

AFP , L’AQUILA, ITALY

US President Barack Obama holds up an autographed Brazilian soccer jersey given to him by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva yesterday during a meeting on the sidelines of the G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy.

PHOTO: AFP

The world’s biggest economies agreed to try to limit global warming to a 2ºC temperature hike yesterday as the major developing economies confronted the world’s richest at the G8 summit.

Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa joined an expanded G8 summit on its second day, determined that their rich partners pay the lion’s share of the bill for dragging the world economy out of its dramatic slowdown.

The five developing countries agreed with the big eight — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the US — that they would oppose protectionism and move more quickly toward a global trade deal.

But the emergent powers, formerly wary of shackling their growth potential through limiting their carbon emissions, also bowed to pressure from the G8 to agree climate change targets.

As late as last week, China and India stood opposed to ambitious reductions targets, arguing the rich world should lead the way in fighting climate change.

But according to a diplomat and a draft copy of a summit communique seen by AFP, the Major Economies Forum — the 16 countries that between them produce 80 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases — has come to a deal on a target.

The G8 countries, despite the reticence of Russia, had earlier agreed to cut their emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

Now the emerging economies appear to have accepted the principle of limiting the rise in the Earth’s average temperature to 2ºC above its pre-industrial revolution level.

Clear differences still remain, however.

Brazil, for example, dismissed the G8’s distant 80 percent emissions reduction target as “not credible” without an earlier interim stage, echoing the position of Russia, which has dismissed the goal.

“We can’t be satisfied with a single long-term objective without losing all credibility,” Brazilian Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figuereido Machado said.

“We need strong and deep reduction goals for 2020,” he said.

Aside from climate, the summit in L’Aquila focused on the world economic crisis, with the 14 major countries agreeing to resist domestic calls for protectionism.

“We will cooperate to ensure that the global economy resumes growth along a balanced, equitable and sustainable path for the benefit of all, especially the most vulnerable,” said the draft statement following the morning’s talks.

“We will resist protectionism and promote open markets for trade and investment,” added the draft statement, a copy of which was seen by AFP.

Leaders also vowed to conclude the Doha round of trade negotiations next year, again according to the draft accord.

“We ... are committed to seek an ambitious and balanced conclusion to the Doha Development Round in 2010, consistent with its mandate, building on the progress already made,” the joint draft statement said.

The so-called Doha round of trade liberalization talks were launched in the Qatari capital in late 2001 but have foundered ever since, despite repeated attempts to infuse new life into the negotiations.

Progress has been hampered by disputes between developed and developing nations on measures to ease restrictions on trade in agricultural and industrial products.

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