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G8 in tussle with poorer nations over emissions

THE UN's chief sharply rebuked the Group of Eight leaders yesterday for failing to make more commitments to reducing climate change in the near term, saying they must do so if the heavily polluting developing world is to follow suit.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also said the industrialized nations must come forward with financing for poorer countries to change their carbon-heavy growth patterns and adapt to the effects of global warming.

"The policies that they have stated so far are not enough, not sufficient enough," Ban said on the sidelines of the G8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy. "We must work according to the science. This is politically and morally imperative and a historic responsibility for the leaders for the future of humanity, even for the future of planet Earth."

On the first day of their summit on Wednesday, the G8 recognized for the first time that average global temperatures shouldn't exceed 2 degrees Celsius from preindustrial times.

But the leaders made no commitments to do anything in the short term to reach that goal, and they made no firm financial or technological commitments for poor countries to cope with climate change.

" I sincerely hope and I urge, and I'm going to urge, that the leaders of G8 are responsible to lead this campaign," Ban said.

The G8 statement issued on Wednesday said the world's major economies would take "robust" midterm reductions on their way to reducing 80 percent of heat-trapping carbon emissions by 2050.

But they made no firm targets, despite recommendations from a UN panel which has said global emissions must be reduced between 25 percent and 40 percent by 2020 to keep average global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees above preindustrial levels 150 years ago.

The G8, which is composed of Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan and the United States, was meeting yesterday as part of a 17-nation group called the Major Economies Forum, which has become the G8's main forum for climate issues. The group includes China and India.


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