G8 Climate Change Progress 'Painfully Slow,' Say Christian Agencies

International Christian aid agencies say that while there are a few commendable aspects about the G8 summit, progress for the climate change issue has been "painfully slow."

G8 leaders meeting in Italy this week agreed for the first time to "reduce our emissions by 80 percent" by 2050. However, the leaders failed to agree on using the 1990 baseline to determine the exact goal of the emission cuts. Aid agencies say establishing a baseline is critical to making the commitment meaningful.

In another step of progress, the world's richest countries for the first time agreed that the average global temperatures should not rise above 2 degrees – the level scientists say going above would be dangerous.

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The G8 representatives, however, were criticized for not providing leadership on financing the efforts to achieve this goal.

"When the language of the communiqué is so heavily infused with enthusiasm rather than solid action, we have to be skeptical," commented Joanne Green, head of policy at Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD).

"Although we had a breakthrough of 2 degrees, the emissions targets are not strong enough and not backed up with commitment on funding developing countries' strategy for coping with climate change," she said.

Part of the problem is that developing countries, including China and India, feel it is unfair to expect them to finance the climate change adjustments necessary to reduce emissions.

During the annual G8 summit, leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to the 2005 pledge to double aid to Africa by 2010. But aid agencies expressed skepticism, noting that Italy and France failed to deliver on their previous promise.

Leaders also discussed how to reform the economy, but were criticized for not providing details on how they plan to achieve the reforms.

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