A new year means a new country takes over leadership of the Group of Eight rich nations, and in 2008 it’s Japan. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has promised to make climate change a top priority, proposing a goal for G8 countries to cut emissions by 50 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. And while that may seem ambitious for a nation that just last month stood with the United States in opposition to specific reduction goals for a post-Kyoto treaty, the safe bet is on continued U.S. interference with specific emissions reduction goals at the G8 (see: last year), so there’s little to lose by aiming for the same shot-down target as last year. Fukuda also announced plans to hold a climate-change meeting immediately preceding the July G8 summit and has invited China, India, Indonesia, and South Korea to attend as well. Fukuda indicated that even after the climate-specific meet, “Environmental issues will be a big agenda” item at the regular old G8 summit. “Japan hopes to lead the worldwide discussions in order to hand over clean skies to our children.”