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G8 leaders agrees to halve greenhouse gas emission by 2050


·Leaders of the G8 countries agreed to halve greenhouse gas emission by 2050.
·Barroso said the countries "remain on track to reach a global climate deal in 2009."
·G8 has yet to set a target for mid term reduction of greenhouse gas emission by 2020.

TOYAKO, Japan, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Leaders of the Group of Eight countries agreed here Tuesday on the long-term target of at least halving global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, but many analysts said that the leaders' statement fell short of expectation as it failed to set mid-term targets.

With Lake Toya in the background, the leaders of the Group of Eight nations and European Union -- (from L to R) Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, U.S. President George W. Bush, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso -- pose for a group photo on the second day of a three-day summit meeting at the Windsor Hotel Toya in Toyako, Hokkaido, Japan, on July 8, 2008.((Xinhua Photo)
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"We seek to share with all Parties to the UNFCCC the vision of, and together with them to consider and adopt in the UNFCCC negotiations, the goal of achieving at least 50 percent reduction of global emissions by 2050," the leaders said in a statement.

The UNFCCC refers to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which entered into force in 1994 setting an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change.

The aggreement on emission cuts came on the second day of the three-day G8 summit held in the northern Japanese resort of Toyako.

The agreement "is an important and significant step forward" in the efforts to fight global warming, said Koji Tsuruoka, director-general for global issues with Japanese Foreign Ministry, told a press conference here.

However, the Japanese official stopped short of describing the agreement as a breakthrough.

"It is naive to think breakthrough can be made in less than a year" on such a sticky issue as climate change, refering to the fact that the UN climate change conference was held in Bali, Indonesia, at the end of last year when 190 countries agreed to launch new UN-led negotiations on fighting climate change.

The negotiations are expected to lead to the creation of a new framework for cutting carbon emissions when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. The UN talks are set to conclude in Copenhagen in December 2009.

"It's much too soon to congratulate ourselves," the Japanese official said, noting much remains to be done to tackle the global challenge.

The statement only set a long-term goal for reduction of global emissions rather than targets for each of the G8 nations, and it also failed to mention a base year for the reduction.

In the statement, the G8 leaders also said that "each of us will implement ambitious economy-wide mid-term goals in order to achieve absolute emissions reduction," without specifying what their mid-term goals are.

"Without any mid-term targets, it is hard to take these long-term commitments seriously," said Ben Wikler, climate campaign director at

"Unless the G8 leaders agree to immediate action and medium-term targets for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by2020, any long-term promises will be unattainable," said Oxfam, an international aid agency.

Japanese Prime Minister said that the G8 statement on climate change has not come by easily.

"When we look back, the past year has been a long journey," he said, adding many difficult negotiations had been conducted to reach the agreement.

"Based on the strong resolve expressed here today at Toyako, we will begin efforts to lead to the common action on a global scale," he said.

Source: Xinhua

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