TOP economies and developing nations joined hands in the fight against climate change Wednesday, vowing support for UN-led global warming talks at the conclusion of a sprawling summit that pledged more aid for Africa and condemned Zimbabwe’s disputed presidential vote.
On the final day of a three-day Group of Eight summit, a US-sponsored group of 16 countries and the European Union said they would set medium- and long-term goals to reduce greenhouse gases to save the planet from the worst effects of global warming, but they did not agree on specific targets.
The accord came at the end of a summit that had been dominated by concerns over climate change. On Tuesday, the G-8 nations – the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada and Russia – embraced the goal of halving the global emissions by 2050 as part of a larger deal to be brokered by the UN by the end of next year.
In accordance with its expanded format that included leaders from Africa and major developing nations, the G-8 focused much of their discussion on rising oil prices and their effect on the global economy, development aid and the food crisis buffeting Africa, South Asia and other poorer regions.
On oil, G-8 nations called for expanded production and investment to boost supplies, while endorsing greater energy efficiency. They also pointed out that they had pledged US$10 billion in food and other aid, and said they would form a global partnership on food and agriculture to buoy production.
The leaders also pledged renewed determination to meet goals announced at previous summits to boost annual aid to Africa by US$25 billion, and to spend some US$60 billion to battle infectious diseases. Studies show that the G-8 has so far only provided US$3 billion of the overall aid so far, and they planned an oversight mechanism to keep them to their promises.
Climate, however, commanded the most attention at the summit in Toyako, northern Japan.
Host Japan had prepared for more than a year to win support for the 2050 target, though the agreement on that goal fell far short of ambitions by some European countries and developing nations eager to see wealthy nations take on shorter term targets for 2020 in the run-up to the conclusion of the UN talks next year.