International scientists on Tuesday urged the leaders of the world’s biggest polluters meeting this week at the Group of Eight summit to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.
The 27-strong group of Australian, European, Indian, Japanese and US scientists wrote an open letter calling on the leaders to ensure that global greenhouse gas emissions reach peak levels “by no later than 2020.”
Intervening on the eve of the G8 summit in L’Aquila, central Italy, the group also said leaders should commit to cutting emissions “by at least 50 percent relative to 1990 levels by 2050.”
Negotiators struggling to reach an agreement on cutting emissions in time for a conference in Denmark by the end of the year regard the three-day summit as a golden opportunity to haul the process out of a rut.
The scientists said developed countries should make the deepest cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, “at least 80 percent relative to 1990 by 2050 with appropriate intermediate targets set in time for Copenhagen.”
They said that developing countries should commit “by Copenhagen to significant gains in energy efficiency, reductions in carbon intensity, and cuts in non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions over the next two decades.”
G8 leaders are to discuss climate change among other subjects on Thursday at the summit with their counterparts from other major economies such as China, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea.
While G8 countries generate 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the broader group accounts for 80 percent of the total.
The scientists warned that “warming exceeding two degrees Celsius predicted for later this century would create great risks and have irreversible consequences.”