This is IN THE NEWS in
VOA Special English.
Leaders of the Group of
Eight met this week on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The G-Eight
countries include Britain, Canada, France and Germany. The others are Italy,
Japan, Russia and the United States.
In a statement on the
situation in Zimbabwe, the leaders deplored the actions of the government of
President Robert Mugabe. They said they will take financial and other measures
against those responsible for violence in connection with the recent
The leaders also
promised to fight the crisis of rising food prices and to support development
But the major issue of
the three-day meeting was climate change.
The leaders agreed on a
goal of at least a fifty percent reduction in worldwide carbon emissions by two
thousand fifty. But many environmentalists criticized the lack of any detailed
plans for working toward that goal.
Charles Albani is a
Nigerian activist with the group Global Call to End Poverty. He told VOA that
the lack of details showed a lack of urgency among rich nations about the
effects of global warming.
The leaders were joined
for a time by the leaders of China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. The
G-Eight leaders had agreed among themselves that fast-growing developing
nations must also share in cutting emissions. But the leaders of the five
so-called emerging nations said the developed world must take the lead in
Leaders of Australia,
South Korea and Indonesia also joined the meeting of major economies.
China and India are the
world's fastest-growing carbon producers. But for years China and India have
resisted efforts to force them to reduce emissions for fear it could damage
their economic growth.
They say rich countries
created the current problems through their burning of fossil fuels and should
lead efforts to solve them. China and
India say they have more immediate needs to help hundreds of millions of people
living in poverty.
Some studies suggest
that China may have already passed the United States as the leading producer of
heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But Max Lawson, a policy adviser for Oxfam
International, says that per person, the United States emits about four times
more carbon than China. And Alden Meyer from the Union of Concerned Scientists
says developing countries are taking some steps to reduce emissions.
Kurt Achin reported from Hokkaido, there is wide agreement on at least one
thing. Any deal on reducing carbon emissions is sure to fail unless it also
includes emerging economies.
This was President Bush's last G-Eight summit; he leaves
office in January. The group's chairman this year was Japanese Prime Minister
Yasuo Fukuda. Next is Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. For more
about the G-Eight summit, go to voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.