G8 leaders agree new global warming targets

The leaders of the G8 nations have agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

During their annual summit, the G8 nations also agreed to prevent global temperatures rising by more than 2C.

A communiqué released at the summit in L'Aquila, Italy, also outlined the leaders continued efforts to restart economic growth and international trade.

Commenting on the historic climate change agreement, Britain's prime minister Gordon Brown said the announcement paved the way for a global commitment to cutting emissions at the UN conference in Copenhagen later this year.

The agreement announced this week is believed to be a direct result of US president Barack Obama's intervention.

His stance on global warming is seen as being far more in line with the rest of the G8 nations compared to his predecessor George Bush.

Speaking at the summit, Mr Brown said: "For the first time the G8 has agreed what I believe are vital decisions that take us on the road to Copenhagen and change the way we look at energy policy in the future.

"We have agreed for the first time that average global temperatures must rise by no more than 2C. That is a historic agreement.

"We have agreed as G8 that we want to cut our emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 and we believe that this will allow the world to reduce its emissions by 50 per cent."

There has been some criticism of the announcements though, with environmental groups complaining of a lack of short-term targets.

There has also been some doubt raised of the influence of the G8 nations, with the G20 now seen much more as representing the collective global consensus.

This week's summit has already suffered a major set-back with China's president, Hu Jintao, having to leave Italy to deal with the violent protests occurring in the Xinjiang region of his country.

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