The G8 club of rich nations say they want to work with the 200 or so states involved in UN climate change talks to reach an agreement to halve CO2 emissions by 2050.
The statement hands the battle against global warming at the UN’s door in the hope that a new framework can be in place for when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.
The wording of the statement is unlikely to satisfy those seeking specific targets.
Last year the G8 agreed to “seriously consider” a goal of halving global emissions by mid-century.
The European Union and Japan have been pressing for this year’s summit to go beyond that, and Brussels wanted clear interim targets as well.
US President George W Bush has made it clear that Washington cannot agree to strict targets unless big polluters such as China and India reduce their emissions as well.
The international aid agency Oxfam insisted that rich countries emit the most carbon per head and they must cut emissions to solve climate change.
Oxfam also urged the G5 countries, including China, Brazil and India, also present at the summit in Hokkaido, Japan to take responsibility for climate change too.