Page last updated at 13:54 GMT, Tuesday, 8 July 2008 14:54 UK

Brown hails G8 emissions progress

Gordon Brown and George Bush at the G8 summit
Gordon Brown says hybrid cars will help reduce Britain's dependence on oil

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown says "major progress" has been made at the G8 summit after world leaders agreed to halve carbon emissions by 2050.

Last year's G8 would only "seriously consider" a 50% cut in C02. On Tuesday it said it would "consider and adopt" the goal in an international agreement.

Mr Brown said the deal was "beyond what people thought possible".

But Greenpeace said tough targets were needed for the richest countries to slash emissions in the next 100 months.

The prime minister told the BBC: "The change at this summit is that all countries have agreed a 50% cut in emissions by 2050 - the first time we have agreed this."

Battery cars

The G8 has agreed a list of 25 areas where wealthier countries can help by cutting energy use, including abandoning traditional light bulbs and cutting power used by appliances on standby.

Mr Brown said he hoped part of that change could see households across the UK switching to electric or less -polluting cars.

The G8 should have ruled out the scores of new coal-fired power stations set to be built across the industrialised world, threatening any hope we have of beating climate change
John Sauven
Greenpeace

"Technology is advancing quickly - hybrid and battery cars are now popular," he said. "The question is, can we create a market for them?

"The benefit will be to reduce our reliance on oil."

But Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said: "The G8 leaders have failed the world again.

"We needed tough targets for the richest countries to slash emissions in the next 100 months, but instead we got ambiguous long-term targets for the world in general.

"The G8 could and should have ruled out the scores of new coal-fired power stations set to be built across the industrialised world, threatening any hope we have of beating climate change."

Africa investment

The world leaders also agreed to stick to a 2005 pledge to double aid by 2010, despite fears over the credit crunch.

Mr Brown said he was pleased aid promises for Africa, which were made at the Gleneagles summit in 2005, would be retained.

The prime minister is being credited behind the scenes with ensuring that the G8 did not backslide on its commitments to African development
Nick Robinson
BBC political editor

The summit also announced a multi-billion pound investment in malaria nets, fighting infectious diseases and education in developing countries.

"We are delivering everything we promised, other countries will do the same," said Mr Brown.

"Ten million children will go to school. Malaria nets will save thousands and more healthcare. These are big concrete changes."

He said it was essential that summits, like the G8, helped create global solutions to the world's dependence on oil and increase food production.

"These are difficult times because of the three threats from oil prices, food prices and the global credit crunch affecting households across the country," he said.

But, he added: "Britain has a fundamentally strong economy."


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