G-8 in Japan open talks on halving greenhouse gas by 2050
Environmental ministers from eight nations opened three days of talks in the western Japanese city of Kobe Saturday on measures to fight climate change, dpa reported.
Group of Eight (G-8) ministers were to discuss a target proposed by Japan to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and a sector-based approach to developing a climate change plan for after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.
But as the talks got under way, it was the major nations - the US and Japan above all - that came in for criticism from environmentalists, who insisted they put their own house in order before urging change in the developing world.
Diane McFadzien, WWF Climate Policy Coordinator for the Asia- Pacific, warned: "Industrialized nations created the problem of climate change in the first place, and it is their responsibility to lead towards solving it."
She added: "It is now about capability. While emerging economies have their part to play, its is the G8 countries that have the wealth and the knowledge base to act first."
The view was echoed by Naoyuki Yamagishi, Head of the Climate and Energy Programme at WWF Japan. "A long-term target for 2050, such as will likely be announced by the Japanese premier Minister soon, is positive but not sufficient," he warned.
During the meeting, Japan plans to encourage G-8 member states and emerging economies, such as China and India, to help developing nations achieve economic growth and tackle pollution and waste management through a "co-benefits approach."
The Kobe meeting on environmental issues, which comes ahead of the July G-8 summit in Japan's northern city of Toyako, involves ministers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States, as well as China, India, Mexico and South Africa.