Obama’s magical powers aren’t working at the G-8.
But the impasse over the 2050 targets demonstrated again the most vexing problem in reaching a consensus on climate change: the longstanding divisions between developed countries like the United States, Europe and Japan on one side, and developing nations like China, India, Brazil and Mexico on the other.
While the richest countries have produced the bulk of the pollution blamed for climate change, developing countries are producing increasing volumes of gases. But developing countries say their climb out of poverty should not be halted to fix damage done by industrial countries.
As various sides tried to draft an agreement to sign Thursday, those tensions scuttled the specific goals sought by the United States and Europe. The proposed agreement called for worldwide emissions to be cut 50 percent by 2050, with industrial countries cutting theirs by 80 percent. But emerging powers refused to agree because they wanted industrial countries to commit to midterm goals in the next decade and to follow through on promises of financial and technological help for poorer nations.
“They’re saying, ‘We just don’t trust you guys,’ ” said Alden Meyer, of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “It’s the same gridlock we had last year when Bush was president.”
Another blow to cap and trade.