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G8 falls short on climate change

Stephen Beard Jul 8, 2009
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G8 falls short on climate change

Stephen Beard Jul 8, 2009
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Kai Ryssdal: The G8 meeting opened today in L’Aquila, Italy. Leaders of the world’s largest industrialized economies have a full schedule of events to keep them busy. A check-up on their promises of last year to work together to fix the global economy. New food aid programs, as we’ll hear a little bit later on. And the small matter of climate change.

President Obama set the stage before he left home. He promised to make global warming one of the key topics of conversation. And hopes have been rising that some of the world’s biggest economies would sign up for drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. But those hopes have apparently been adjusted as Marketplace’s Stephen Beard reports.


STEPHEN BEARD: Many campaigners had been expecting an historic accord tomorrow. They believed that the U.S., Europe Japan and the fast-growing economies like China and India were all going to agree to deep cuts in their carbon emissions. An overall 50 percent reduction by the middle of this century, with the rich countries cutting by 80 percent. But it seems those numbers will be missing from tomorrows’ communique.

Marks Nicholls is Editor of Environmental Finance Magazine. He says the big emerging economies have balked.

MARKS NICHOLLS: I think there is skepticism amongst the Chinese and the Indians that the West will deliver on nearer-term emissions targets and will provide financing again in the near-term to developing countries to help them adapt to climate change.

He says the developing world harbors a deep resentment towards the rich countries over this issue.

NICHOLLS: The West has enjoyed industrialization based on fossil fuels. China and India don’t see why they should be denied that growth.

Instead of the numerical targets, tomorrow’s communique is likely to contain an acknowledgment: that global warming must not exceed a further 2 degrees centigrade. Not quite the commitment the campaigners were hoping for.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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