Leaders from the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized countries agreed on Wednesday to limit global warming to within two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, but watered down a target of halving greenhouse gas emission by 2050.
"We recognize the broad scientific view that the increase in global average temperature above pre-industrial levels ought not to exceed 2 degrees Celsius," the leaders said in a declaration concluding their first-day meeting at a summit in the central Italian town of L'Aquila.
Scientists had warned that there would be serious climate consequences if the world temperature rises more than the threshold of two degrees Celsius.
The United States has been reluctant to accept the 2-degree limit, a goal strongly supported by the European Union (EU). It is the first time the G8 leaders accepted the political goal in the global fight against climate change.
The G8 leaders said they are ready to achieve the goal of reducing global emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050, without specifying from the level of which year.
"We reiterate our willingness to share with all countries the goal of achieving at least a 50 percent reduction of global emissions by 2050, recognizing that this implies that global emissions need to peak as soon as possible and decline thereafter," they said.
The EU has been pushing for reduction by half from the base year of 1990, but Washington wants to use the emission level in 2005, which is higher than that in 1990, as the reference.
(Xinhua News Agency July 9, 2009)