June 29, 2008 / 1:46 PM / 12 years ago

Lawmakers urge CO2 cut targets for rich nations

By Linda Sieg

TOKYO, June 29 (Reuters) - Lawmakers from G8 rich countries and five emerging economies including China agreed on Sunday that developed countries should pledge to cut CO2 emissions by 25-40 percent by 2020.

They said developed countries should commit to reducing by at least 60-80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 and called on poorer countries to do their bit by taking "appropriate" national actions, in a framework being negotiated to fight global warming after 2012.

The proposal will be passed to G8 summit host Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.

Climate change is high on the agenda for the July 7-9 Group of Eight (G8) summit at Lake Toya in Hokkaido, northern Japan. Fukuda hopes to build momentum for U.N.-led talks on a framework for after the Kyoto Protocol’s first phase ends in 2012.

G8 leaders agreed last year to consider a global goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2050. Climate campaigners say this year’s summit should go further by endorsing that goal and linking it to bold mid-term targets for developed countries.

Climate change will also be the focus of a July 9 Major Economies Meeting bringing together the G8 leaders and the heads of eight other major economies including China, India and Brazil.

"What we want to see is a constant ratcheting up as we move toward Copenhagen," Britain’s Michael Jay, who drafted the lawmakers’ proposal, told Reuters after the meeting.

Last December, 190 countries agreed in Bali on a two-year U.N.-led negotiating process to forge a successor to the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol on cutting carbon emissions. Those talks are meant to conclude in Copenhagen in December 2009.


But squabbling within the G8 and between the G8 and big emerging economies such as China and India over how to share the burden for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming has cast doubts on what can be achieved at Lake Toya.

While most of the about 100 lawmakers said a goal of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 was needed, unanimous agreement proved elusive.

The United States, which along with China is the world’s top greenhouse gas emitter, has yet to agree to such a long-term target, a Japanese government source said last week, raising the prospect of a diplomatic failure for Fukuda at the summit.

Washington has said it would accept binding targets only if big emerging economies also come on board, and wants the Major Economies Meeting to be the main forum for discussing the topic.

A statement drafted at an MEM meeting in Seoul last weekend failed to mention numbers for either a long-term global goal or mid-term targets for developed countries.

"The G8+5 together account for 73 percent of current global greenhouse gas emissions," the proposal paper said.

"Further efforts by all of these countries are essential: developed countries should continue to take the lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in absolute terms, whilst developing countries should take actions to control their greenhouse gas emissions within the framework of sustainable development."

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