'When we look back, the past year has been a long journey,' said Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda of Japan. 'Since agreeing to 'seriously consider' a long-term goal, at last year's Heiligendamm Summit, Japan, as the Chair of G8, has repeatedly conducted difficult negotiations. We have arrived at the agreement reached today,' he said.
To achieve absolute emissions reductions, the G8 will implement 'ambitious economy-wide mid-term goals,' the leaders pledged.
In addition, they pointed to new multilateral 'climate investment funds' that have been set up to assist the efforts of developing countries. In this context, Japan will promote its 'Cool Earth Partnership Initiative.'
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda of Japan said, 'It goes without saying that the achievement of the long-term goal will only be realized with the contribution for other major economies. At tomorrow's Major Economies Meeting, we will strongly call on such countries for cooperation.'
Leaders of Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and South Korea are in Japan for that Wednesday meeting.
'Based on the strong resolve expressed here today at Toyako, we will begin efforts to lead to the common action on a global scale,' Fukuda said. 'This, I feel, is the important mission that is entrusted on us, as we are responsible for the future of the next generation.'
As part of the agreement, the G8 will set up a new international initiative for the research and development of innovative technologies to contribute to the realization of a low-carbon society. The leaders agreed to establish and hold an energy forum to focus on energy efficiency and new technologies.
German Chancelor Angela Merkel said today the climate agreement was a 'major step forward' from the G8 position at the Heiligendamm Summit in Germany. 'I'm very satisfied with the work that has gone on on the G8 documents, as regards progress on the issue of climate change,' she said.
From Toyaka where he is attending the G8 Summit, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the statement today by the G8 leaders that they aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2050, saying he was 'reasonably encouraged' by the news.
The key, he said, would be to act on this commitment and to build momentum to reach a global emission reduction pact by 2009. 'We must agree by the end of December next year in Copenhagen to adopt a global agreement which is balanced, inclusive and ratifiable. This is a crucial task for us to do,' he said.
In the past, the United States has been reluctant to endorse a numerical target for emissions reductions. This year, President George W. Bush did not block G8 agreement on the 2050 goal.
President Bush's 'sherpa,' Dan Price, formally titled assistant to the president for international economic affairs and deputy national security advisor, told reporters that the president had persuaded the other G8 leaders to establish the technology initiative.
'At the president's urging, the leaders collectively have committed to annually dedicate $10 billion to technology research and development, and the U.S. will be investing nearly half that amount, covering a quite broad range of technology needs and opportunities,' said Price.
'The G8, as reflected in this declaration, is also embarking on the most ambitio