The world’s leading economies have made “important strides forward” in how to tackle global warming. But “progress will not be easy”.
That is how US President Barack Obama summed up the key climate debate at the G8 summit in Italy. The major industrialised nations did not fully win the G5 emerging countries and other guests round to their plans to halve global emissions by 2050. But there was some common ground. “We agreed that the actions we take to achieve our reductions must be measurable, reportable and verifiable. And we agreed to establish at the earliest possible date a peak year after which overall global emissions will start falling. These are all very significant steps forward in addressing this challenge,” he said. And importantly, there was a general acceptance of the mainstream scientific view that global temperatures must not rise more than 2 degrees celcius above pre-industrial revolution levels. It is feared any greater rise would create major instability. The impacts of global warming, melting icebergs and an increasing frequency of climatic catastrohies such as droughts and flooding, could no longer be ignored said Obama who was keen to underline the shift in the US attitude towards the problem. He said the meeting had explored “significant financial assistance” for developing countries to go green. And Australia’s Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd also unveiled a new Global Carbon Capturing and Storing Institute which has just opened in Australia.