G8 seen failing to keep climate change vows

Thu Jul 3, 2008 6:14pm EDT
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By Erik Kirschbaum

BERLIN (Reuters) - None of the G8 countries have come close to fulfilling their pledges to fight climate change with the United States, Canada and Russia lagging especially far behind, a study published on Thursday found.

The "G8 Climate Scorecards," compiled by environmental group WWF and Allianz, said Britain, France and Germany -- at the top of the rankings -- had failed abysmally to implement measures to back the goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions.

"We're not going to be able to fathom what the world may be like in 20 years if we aren't able to reduce emissions," said Regine Guenther, head of climate policy at the WWF in Germany.

"None of the eight leading industrial nations have taken sufficient measures needed to be considered in line with the target to limit a worldwide increase in temperatures to 2 degrees centigrade," said Niklas Hoehne, the author of the study done by ECOFYS research group for WWF and Allianz.

They said leaders of the Group of Eight countries -- which have emitted 62 percent of the CO2 in atmosphere -- have talked about cutting emissions but largely failed to follow through.

The G8 leaders from the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and Russia will meet in the Japanese resort of Hokkaido for their annual summit next week, where climate change is due to be a top issue on their agenda.

At last year's summit in Germany they agreed to seriously consider a goal of halving global emissions by 2050.

The scorecard offers grim reading, showing all eight countries have failed to match their words with deeds.   Continued...

<p>Officials walk past the main lobby of The Windsor Hotel, the venue of the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit in Toyako, on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido July 2, 2008. G8 leaders could well cobble together some agreement next week on goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but bolder progress in climate change talks will probably have to wait until a new U.S president takes office REUTERS/Issei Kato</p>