G8 nations agree to cut emissions 50 percent by 2050 (sort of)
At this year’s Group of Eight meeting in Japan, the world’s richest nations more or less agreed to cut greenhouse-gas emissions 50 percent by 2050. While the agreement is notable since it means President Bush has budged ever-so-slightly on the climate issue, the group’s statement on the cuts is little more than a carefully worded pledge to keep negotiating. At last year’s G8 meeting in Germany, countries agreed to “consider” cutting their emissions to 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050; this year, the G8’s joint statement said the nations would “consider and adopt” a goal of 50 percent cuts through the United Nations climate treaty process. However, the baseline year for emission cuts has apparently been changed from 1990 levels to today’s, meaning the cuts would be much smaller overall. Also, the pledge is conditional on other nations like China and India agreeing to similar cuts, which gives the G8 nations even more wiggle room. One of environmentalists’ biggest contentions with the G8 statement is that no short-term goals were set.