TOYAKO, Japan, July 9, 2008 (AFP) - World leaders holding a climate summit here that ended in deadlock between rich and developing countries said Wednesday they planned another meeting next year in Italy. Japan, host of this week's G8 summit, for the first time invited leaders of eight other major economies including China, India and Indonesia for a special session on climate change.
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said he spoke with his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi, whose country is the next G8 president, and he agreed to hold another such meeting in 2009. The format has faced fierce criticism from environmentalists, who are suspicious because it was inspired by US President George W. Bush and is not under the UN aegis. The talks in Japan led to no significant agreement. Rich nations called for global cuts of at least 50 percent by 2050 in carbon emissions blamed for global warming, but developed nations pressed the G8 to do more in the nearer term.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd voiced hope that next year's meeting would push ahead UN-led talks which seek to reach a post-Kyoto Protocol treaty by the end of 2009. "I argued with the counterparts of the meeting for the needs for developed and developing countries to work towards a grand bargain, a grand consensus, a new consensus on action requiring us to commit to a target," Rudd told reporters.
Wednesday's meeting was called the Major Economies Meeting (MEM), part of a process initiated by Bush to bring aboard all leading carbon emitters from the rich world and developing nations. "The MEM process was made up by the US administration to distract public attention from the fact that President Bush's climate politics suffer a disastrous lack of ambition," said Kim Carstensen, head of the WWF's Global Climate Initiative. The United States is the only major industrialised country to oppose the Kyoto Protocol, with Bush saying it is unfair by making no demands of fast-growing emerging economies.