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G8 leaders agree to further carbon emission reductions

From the BBC:

Leaders of the G8 nations have agreed to seek “substantial” cuts in emissions in an effort to tackle climate change.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the G8 would negotiate within a UN framework to seek a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol by the end of 2009.

No mandatory target was set for the cuts, but Mrs Merkel’s preference for a 50% emissions cut by the year 2050 was included in the agreed statement.

Developing nations should also cut emissions, the leaders agreed.

Announcing the climate change deal, Mrs Merkel described it as a “significant and important step forward”.

“We agreed… that CO2 emissions must first be stopped and then followed by substantial reductions,” the German chancellor said.

Her preferred benchmark of 50% cuts by 2050 – backed by the EU, Canada and Japan – would be given serious consideration, she said.

According to an extract from the agreed text published on the G8 website, the leaders agreed to take “strong and early” action.

“Taking into account the scientific knowledge as represented in the recent IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reports, global greenhouse gas emissions must stop rising, followed by substantial global emission reductions,” the text says.

Speaking to reporters in Heiligendamm, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair deflected concerns about the absence of a precise definition of the term “substantial cuts”.

“I’m both surprised and very pleased at how far we have come forward in the couple of years since the 2005 G8 summit at Gleneagles,” he told reporters.

“Now we have an agreement that there will be a climate change deal, it will involve everyone, including the US and China, and it will involve substantial cuts.”

Press reports said that the talks were difficult. But the difficult work will be making it happen; overall, we’re still not improving significantly on 1990 CO2 levels.

Car makers can either see this as another warning, or an opportunity, to develop low emission vehicles.