G8 leaders endorse fifty percent emmisions cut, but with no specific targets


The 2008 G8 Summit has ended with an agreement among the principals to endorse cutting greenhouse gas emissions fifty percent by 2050. Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, host of the meeting, added a request that countries reduce their mid-term greenhouse gas emissions prior to standards being set.

The G8 rich countries said on Tuesday they want to work with the nearly 200 states involved in U.N. climate change talks to adopt a goal of at least halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The final climate communique agreed by the Group of Eight leaders at a summit in northern Japan also said mid-term goals would be needed to achieve the shared goal for 2050, but gave no numerical targets.

This puts the adaptation of actual standards within the United Nations' effort to construct a follow-up to the Kyoto Accord,the ongoing negotiations of which are set to conclude in December, 2009 at Copenhagen.

The G8 endorseme
nt follows a letter sent to the Japanese Prime Minister by NASA's James Hansen, citing new data that showed the climate had exceeded safe C02 levels (safe maximum at 350 ppm; current level is at 385 ppm) and urging the Prime Minister Fukuda to take the lead at the G8 to set specific targets. The language of the G8 statement was worded so as not to require specific targets, which will doubtless raise questions among both environmentalists and businesses that have been asking for those targets in an effort to effectively plan for future production.

The lack of specific wording was seen as a result of U.S. resistanc
U.S. President George W. Bush has insisted that Washington cannot agree to binding targets unless big polluters such as China and India rein in their emissions as well.
India and China are polluters, a problem exacerbated by China's growing usage of coal fired plants and both countrys' increasing thirst for oil (charts by Dr. James Hansen, NASA):

The picture becomes more G8 centric with per capita C02 emissions by country, reflecting the individual carbon footprint within each population: