G8 meets leaders of developing countries for talks

July 9th, 2008 - 11:55 am ICT by IANS  

Toyako, July 9 (DPA) The Group of Eight (G8) leaders were meeting their colleagues from the rest of the world Wednesday, hoping to sell their “50 by 50″ deal on emission cuts and to discuss possible solutions to global economic woes. The morning session saw them come face-to-face with the leaders of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa, the so-called G5.

The subsequent sessions were extended to the leaders of Australia, Indonesia and South Korea, as well as the chiefs of the UN and the World Bank.

On Tuesday, the G8 issued a headline-grabbing statement in which leaders vowed to “move towards a low-carbon society” and to halve global greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050. But there was as yet no agreement on the base year from which to measure such cuts.

Moreover, they stressed that such an objective “will only be possible through common determination of all major economies”, meaning to include China, India and other rapidly developing nations.

The G5 responded with a joint statement stating that any deal would have to take into account “the historic responsibility” of the world’s old powers.

“It is essential that developed countries take the lead in achieving ambitious and absolute greenhouse-gas emission reductions,” they said.

According to the G5, the rich club of nations should cut their emissions by as much as 80 to 95 percent by 2050.

Another source of potential confrontation during Wednesday’s talks concerned G8 calls for developing nations to lift their export restrictions on food in a bid to ease pressure on spiralling food prices.

The G5, however, says the US and the European Union (EU) should stop subsidising their farmers, instead.

“Multi-billion agricultural trade-distorting support in developed countries have hampered the development of food production capacity in developing countries, critically reducing the possibilities of reaction to the present crisis,” Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa said in a joint declaration.

Other issues up for discussion Wednesday included the weak dollar and the value of the Chinese renminbi.

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