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G8 countries must take lead on global warming: Oxfam

by Staff Writers
Syracuse, Italy (AFP) April 22, 2009
The Group of Eight nations meeting in Italy must take the lead in the fight against global warming or endanger hundreds of millions of people worldwide, the British charity Oxfam said Wednesday.

"We have reached a crossroads, and rich countries get to choose the route we all take," said Antonio Hill, a senior policy advisor for Oxfam.

"One route leads us out of today's economic and climate crises and towards a low carbon future; the other spells disaster for hundreds of millions of people across the globe," he said.

"We need governments to raise their game," said Oxfam International Executive Director Jeremy Hobbs, calling on wealthy countries to provide at least 50 billion dollars (38.5 billion euros) a year to help poor countries adapt to unavoidable climate change.

By 2015, the number of people affected by climate-related disasters will rise by 54 percent over the 25O million people currently affected and reach 375 million in six years, Oxfam said, citing an analysis of 6,500 such disasters since 1980.

The talks taking place in Sicily are considered a milestone on the way to a UN meeting in Copenhagen in December aimed at sealing an international pact for curbing greenhouse gases beyond 2012.

The UN goal is either to halve emissions compared with a benchmark year, or to peg temperature increases below 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial times, according to a UN text unveiled last month.

But deep disagreement remains on how to divvy up the burden between rich and emerging economies and what stepping-stone targets should be set along the way.

"In order to avoid catastrophic climate change, global warming must be kept as far below 2C as possible," Oxfam said, adding: "This requires industrialised countries as a group to cut their emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020."

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G8 looks to greener White House to lead on global warming
Syracuse, Italy (AFP) April 23, 2009
The environment ministers of rich and emerging nations were looking Wednesday to Washington for new leadership at talks in Sicily on combatting global warming.

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