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President Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi talk as they arrive for the G-8 summit. - 


Kai Ryssdal: We begin with the G-8. They're meeting in Germany this week, as you've heard. Going in the host, Chancellor Angela Merkel made it clear she wanted some kind of agreement on climate change. President Bush made it just as clear such an agreement wasn't likely.

So it was curious today when word came of an agreement. Nothing binding, mind you, but one that calls for substantial cuts in greenhouse gases. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Sam Eaton reports.

Sam Eaton: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who hosted the summit, had hoped to get a concrete commitment from the U.S. and other G-8 members to cut greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2050 — setting the stage for a post-Kyoto international climate treaty.

That didn't happen. But Bush did issue what amounts to be the U.S.'s most serious pledge to date.

President Bush: I've recommitted myself today that the United States would be actively involved, if not taking the lead, in a post-Kyoto framework. Post-Kyoto agreement.

Philip Clapp: There was a very minimal agreement.

Philip Clapp is president of the National Environmental Trust. He says while the leaders of industrialized nations are patting themselves on the back, CO2 emissions continue to grow.

Clapp: The president came to Germany with a message for his colleagues, which is, "I will not agree to binding reductions in global warming pollution on my watch."

Clapp says the voluntary measures Bush is pursuing won't achieve the greenhouse gas reductions needed to ward off the worst effects of global warming.

I'm Sam Eaton for Marketplace.

Follow Sam Eaton at @eatonsam