Environment chiefs from top industrial countries called yesterday for an agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050, declaring that developed nations should take the lead in battling global warming.
The statement by ministers from the G8 nations, aimed at preparing for action on climate change at the G8 summit in Toyako, Japan in July, also acknowledged calls for midterm emissions reduction targets for 2020, though it did not specify any goals.
The three day meetings of G8 ministers and observer countries also strove to revive momentum for wider UN-led talks on a new global warming pact.
“The major outcome was on climate change: We strongly expressed the will to come to agreement at Toyako so we can halve emissions by 2050,” Japanese Environment Minister Ichiro Kamoshita said. “Advanced nations should show leadership to reach this goal.”
The statement cited the need for global gas emissions to peak within the next 10 to 20 years, and it called on developing countries with rapidly expanding greenhouse gas emissions to work to curb the rate of increase.
While signaling the need for midterm targets, they made only indirect mention of a UN scientific finding that rich countries should make reductions of between 25 percent and 40 percent by 2020 to avoid the worst effects of warming.
“The need was expressed for effective midterm targets which take into account the findings of the IPCC,” the statement said, referring to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared last year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
EU nations, the UN climate chief and environmentalists had clamored in Kobe for progress toward such a reduction pledge by G8 countries, arguing that failure could endanger the UN talks, which face a deadline of December next year.
“Without a mandatory midterm target for developing countries, it will be very difficult to get agreement” by that deadline, said Matthias Machnig, Germany’s delegate.
Still, he conceded that ministers had “made a step here today — a small one, but an important one.”
The EU has pledged a 20 percent emissions reduction by 2020 and has offered to raise it to 30 percent. The US, however, has not committed, demanding commitments from top developing countries such as China first.