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9 Jul, 2009 05:52

G8 agenda goes first to climate, while economic stimulus remains for now

The G8 countries have reiterated their commitment to cut their own carbon emissions by 50% by the year 2050.

The start date varies for different countries – for Russia it's 1990. The world's eight biggest economies also pledged to decrease emissions by 80% by 2050 – if developing countries come on board, even only partially, according to Russian Presidential Aide Arkady Dvorkovich.

“Eighty percent decline in emissions is unacceptable for us – and, quite possibly, unattainable, as it will limit our economic growth. I'd like to emphasize that we won't succeed in this without cooperation from China and India.”

The industrialised countries known as the G5, who sit just outside the G8, have been invited to work alongside the summit in Italy, but Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, says they are cautious about the global warming targets.

"As responsible members of the international community, we recognise our obligation to preserve and protect our environment. But climate change cannot be addressed by perpetuating the poverty of the developing countries.”

As for rescuing the world from its financial meltdown, the G8 leaders say they will delay reversing stimulus measures, until economic recovery is assured.

Each country will decide its own exit strategy, and will reduce bailout spending when their national finances are revived.

Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged his G8 colleagues to avoid complacency over improvements in growth and jobs. The countries remain concerned that falling property prices and high unemployment could choke growth in the months ahead.

Opinions vary – from Germany opposing any additional stimulus, to the United States considering the necessity for a second stimulus package.

The IMF forecasts that anti-crisis measures will burden the advanced economies with a debt of 114% of their GDP by 2014. Even so, Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, says the measures stay in place for now.

"We have decided that it will be important to maintain the necessary support that all governments have given to the bank system, to manufacturing businesses in some cases, and certainly to people who lost their jobs."