Prime Minister Gordon Brown hailed ‘major progress’ after the leaders of the G8 today vowed to halve world emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050.
More than 80 Labour MPs are calling for the Government to cut CO2 emissions by 2050 by as much as 80 per cent instead of the agreed 60 per cent.
Mr Brown said: ‘There has been major progress on the climate change agenda, beyond what people thought possible a few months ago.
‘Countries which previously objected to setting overall targets have accepted these targets subject to there being an international agreement.’
He also attempted to play down the controversy over the lavish banquet enjoyed by the world’s leaders at last night’s summit – shortly after they had been discussing world food shortages.
The organisation has been under pressure to voice commitments by wealthy nations to push forward stalled UN-led talks on forging a new accord to battle global warming by the end of next year.
Tuesday’s statement, however, addressed world emissions rather than just those produced by wealthy countries.
[Environmentalists criticized the statement for failing to go beyond the G-8 statement last year.]
Environmentalists have argued that the 50 percent reduction target was insufficient, and have clamored for ambitious midterm targets for countries to cut emissions by 2020.
Japan itself has set a national target for cutting emissions by between 60 percent and 80 percent by 2050, but has not yet set a midterm goal.
In a nod to such disagreements, Fukuda said the G-8 countries would set individual targets.
‘The G-8 will implement aggressive midterm total emission reduction targets on a country by country basis,’ he said.
The United States hailed the agreement, which Washington said fit with its stance that all major economies – such as China, India and others – need to participate in reducing emissions.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the agreement constituted a ‘new, shared vision by the major economies’ that would support the UN-led effort on a new global warming accord.
‘This is a strong signal to citizens around the world,’ he said in a statement, calling for a renewed push behind the UN talks, which aim to conclude a new pact at a meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December 2009.