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Ban blasts G8 emissions target
L''Aquila (Italy), Jul 9 (IANS/AGENCIES):
Published on 10 Jul. 2009 12:08 AM IST
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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has criticised leaders of the G8 industrial nations for failing to make deeper commitments to combat climate change. On Wednesday, the leaders, meeting in Italy, agreed to cut emissions by 80% by 2050, but Mr Ban said big cuts were needed sooner rather than later. The leaders are set to meet their counterparts from emerging economies to discuss a new deal on global warming. US President Barack Obama will chair the session, in the city of L'Aquila. Now G8 leaders will try to persuade some major developing countries to halve global emissions by 2050. Governments such as China's, that are concerned about climate impacts, may find the figure desirable. But they are unlikely to be impressed with what they see as fine words from the West unmatched by real short-term commitments. Unmatched, too, by money. Of the major developing nations, India especially has long argued that it will not compromise its economic growth by agreeing to climate curbs. So if the West wants the developing world to go through its own energy revolution, it is going to have to fund a lot of it. The second day of the summit has begun, opening up its discussions to take in the so-called G5 nations - Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa. Egypt is a special invitee. The G8 leaders said on Wednesday they had agreed to try to limit global warming to just 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels. That is the level above which, the United Nations says, the Earth's climate system would become dangerously unstable. The G8 leaders also said rich nations should cut emissions by 80% by 2050 while the world overall should reduce them 50% by 2050. But correspondents say emerging nations appear reluctant to sign up and tough negotiations lie ahead. Mr Ban said Wednesday's agreement was welcome, but the leaders needed to establish a strong and ambitious mid-term target for emissions cuts by 2020. "This is politically and morally imperative and a historic responsibility for the leaders... for the future of humanity, even for the future of Planet Earth," he told the BBC. Mr Ban said the leaders also had to come up with financial incentives for poorer countries to reduce pollution and aid to help them mitigate the effects of climate change. President Obama will chair the Major Economies Forum meeting on Thursday afternoon. The countries represented there account for some 80% of the emissions of gases that are blamed for global warming. The BBC's diplomatic correspondent James Robbins, in L'Aquila, says the talks with India and China will be difficult. China's president has headed home to deal with the ethnic violence in Xinjiang, so there are now questions whether his delegation will be more cautious. Our correspondent adds that India is already complaining that the G8's long-term targets for 2050 are too long-term and that G8 countries are ducking interim targets for 2020 which would make their 40-year ambitions more credible. But in a meeting with Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, Mr Obama said there was still time to close the gap between developed and developing nations before UN talks on a new climate change treaty in Copenhagen in December. The summit host, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, has said a deal should be all-inclusive. "It would not be productive if European countries, Japan, the United States and Canada accepted cuts that are economically damaging while more than five billion people in other countries carried on as before," he said. The G8 summit began in L'Aquila on Wednesday, with the first day largely taken up with discussion of the fragile state of the global economy. The leaders also issued a statement reaffirming that they were "deeply concerned" by Iran's nuclear programme and condemning North Korea's recent nuclear test and missile launches. African leaders will join the summit on Friday to push for a new initiative to fund farming in the developing world and tackle global hunger. Solve global issues keeping poor in mind: G5 tells G8 In a strong message ahead of the G8 meet here, the emerging economies of the G5 including India Wednesday asked the grouping of the industrialized nations to find global solutions to international problems without compromising the interest of developing and poor countries. At the end of their meeting here, the leaders of the G5 countries - China, India, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa - specifically mentioned the financial crisis, protectionist issues in trade, climate change and food security as the issues that the G8 needs to address. The G5 declaration comes on the eve of the grouping's meeting here with G8, which includes the US, Britain, Russia, Germany, France, Canada, Japan and hosts Italy. "The developing countries are the most affected by high food prices. We agreed that agriculture and food security need to be placed at the core of the international agenda," Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told a press conference addressed by the leaders of the five countries. "We will see tomorrow the importance of maintaining adequate flow of finance to the developing countries and also of keeping markets open by resisting protectionist pressures. "We would like to engage in a dialogue with our developed country partners on an equal footing," he added. "We recognise our obligations to preserve our environment. But climate change cannot be addressed by perpetuating the poverty of the developing countries. We need to evolve a strategy of growth that brings about a higher standard of living without harming the environment," Manmohan Singh said. The G5 declaration, which will now be taken up at the G8 meet here Thursday, "reflects many of the concerns and priorities of the developing countries", the prime minister said. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said: "We cannot discuss issues like food security and climate change without keeping the economic crisis in mind. The developing countries have suffered the most because of these issues." His South African counterpart Jacob Zuma added that the world is confronted by multiple crises and the G8-G5 meet should collectively find solutions to these challenges.

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