Leaders agreed that warming must be stopped, but few specifics were reached on how to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
Eric Feferberg, Pool/AP
While that is seen as a significant step forward, there was no agreement yet on specific short-term moves to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 – something insiders considered politically unrealistic ahead of the meeting.
The G-8 "was a giant leap for the US, and one small step for mankind," says Bastian Hermisson of the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Germany, a think tank aligned with the Green Party, in describing US climate policy shift from the Bush to Obama administrations. At the G-8 last year in Japan, after many years of disagreement with global warming initiatives, dating to the Kyoto Protocols, and with much consternation in European states – the Bush White House agreed on a 50 percent reduction in gases by 2050. [EDITOR'S NOTE: .]
The G-8 summit of the largest industrial nations, often focuses on economic issues, and the first day there was discussion of the global recession. But by Thursday, this G-8 (joined by five key emerging nations) was being described as an important forum for climate change. Still, the world's leaders are leaving much to be decided at a September G-20 meeting in Pittsburgh, and a major climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, at year's end.