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G8 gets off to unpromising start

G8 gets off to unpromising start
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Disagreement at the G8 summit over tough action on climate change. German chancellor Angela Merkel is failing to get the US to agree to fixed targets for carbon dioxide emissions. Merkel has made their adoption by the G8 a key element in this year’s summit. She wants 50 percent cuts by 2050.

The Americans have said they could accept language in the final summit text calling for “substantial” reductions in global emissions in the long term, and President Bush has promoted his own plan for the world’s top 15 polluters to agree on cuts by the end of next year, and integrate the plan into the UN climate change framework.

“Well, we’re still negotiating the text” said Merkel, “but I believe we have got so far that on one side nobody can evade the climate topic, and that on the other side the need for such a process is undisputed”.

The summit has also found the time to welcome celebrities like Youssou N’Dour and Bono, the former worried about Canada’s opposition to increasing aid, with the latter saying obtaining progress was slow and “like wringing blood from a stone”.