( AP ) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair held out hope Thursday that world leaders could agree on a substantial reduction in long-term greenhouse gas emissions despite U.S.-European disagreement over binding cuts.
Blair, who leaves office June 27, was saying farewell to President Bush and other leaders at the Group of Eight summit in this city on the Baltic Sea in northern Germany.
"I think that it is possible that we'll leave the summit with a commitment on the part of everyone to a substantial reduction of greenhouse gases by 2050 as a global target that is of the order of the type of figures the Europeans are talking about," Blair said.
But agreement on the goal of a deep, fixed reduction of 50 percent was unlikely, he said.
"What is important is that that there should be such a target and that is the sort of ballpark we're talking about," he said.
A gap remains between German Chancellor Angela Merkel's insistence on binding reductions and Bush's plan. Bush has proposed having the 15 top polluters meet and set a long-term goal, but decide themselves how much to do toward it.
Bush praised Blair, his ally in more than six years in office. Bush said he was "nostalgic" as they stood together for the last time at an international summit. Blair leaves office in a few weeks.
"This is the last meeting I will have with him as prime minister," Bush said. "I'm sad about that."
Said Blair: "To be absolutely frank at the moment ... I haven't had time to be nostalgic."
Blair and Bush then sat down for the first joint working session of the G-8, which will tackle issues including global warming, edgy relations with Russia and Moscow's opposition to Western efforts to secure independence for Serbia's Kosovo province.
Their host, Merkel, chaired the meeting, with Blair to her left and Bush next to him. Also at the table: Russia's Vladimir Putin, Italy's Romano Prodi, Canada's Stephen Harper, France's Nicolas Sarkozy, Japan's Shinzo Abe and Jose Manuel Barroso of the European Commission.
Bush and Putin, after days of sparring from afar, were to meet privately later Thursday.