Yesterday, leaders of the Group of 8 pledged to cut emissions in half by 2050, The New York Times reports. But the work did not lead to a long-term emissions goal accepted by all the countries because the Group of 5 poorer countries refused to sign until rich nations like the U.S. announce specific plans that cover the next decade.
President Bush said the climate meeting, part of his “major economies” effort, was a success: “In order to address climate change, all major economies must be at the table,” he said before flying back to Washington. “And that’s what took place today.” It was definitely an advance on April’s meeting, which resulted in little advancement on the topic of emissions goals.
A recent report from the International Energy Agency says that it will take $45 trillion in additional clean technology investments between now and 2050 in order to reduce CO2 emissions to 50 percent.
The meeting put the U.S. on record for the first time as embracing a specific long-term goal. But once again gave no indication on how the goal will be achieved. There is even a dispute about the baseline for the 50% reduction. Some call for using 1990 emissions levels and some more recent measurements.
The target of halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 has been described as “pathetic” and “dangerously short of what is needed” by Kim Carstensen, Director of WWF Global Climate Initiative.
The European Union is on record as wanting an agreement to require developed countries to cut their emissions by 25 to 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2020, CNN reports. The United States, Japan and Canada oppose those targets.
In a statement prepared by the World Economic Forum and presented to Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, this year’s Group of Eight host, major global corporations called on world leaders to set GHG targets for all nations and create an international carbon market.