World leaders are meeting in Tokyako, on the island of Hokkaido (photo), Japan, for a summit of the Group of Eight. In an effort to tackle global warming, they have agreed to set a global target of cutting carbon emissions by at least 50% by 2050.
The deal has been announced after all-night negotiations by Yasuo Fukuda, Japan’s prime minister.
Last year’s G8 summit pledged only to “seriously consider” the cuts.
Serious concerns have also been expressed by the leaders, concerning the threat posed to the global economy by soaring oil prices.
But they said they remained positive about the long-term resilience of their economies, so long as countries resisted the introduction of trade barriers.
No explanation was offered for the underlying causes for the high oil and food prices, nor concrete solutions offered on how to bring prices down, says the BBC’s Bridget Kendall, who is at the summit.
Leaders from the G8 nations, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States, are being joined by counterparts from some 15 other countries.
In order to adopt a goal of halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the G8 leaders said in a joint statement that they would work with nearly 200 other UN member states, who have signed up to the convention on climate change.
And to achieve their aim, mid-term targets and national plans would be needed, the G8 said.
As there are divisions over what targets should be set and what would be expected of developing countries, climate change has been one of the stickiest issues tackled by the G8 leaders.
The Japanese prime minister said, while speaking at the summit, that when they will join the meeting on Wednesday, he would call for the co-operation of China and India in cutting emissions.
The agreement represented “substantial progress” on last year’s summit pledge, said an unnamed US official.
But according to the Tear Fund, one lobby group present in Hokkaido, it was disappointing.
A statement on the elections in Zimbabwe is also expected to be released by the summit. On Monday, US president described Robert Mugabe’s election as a sham.