While NGOs are generally dissatisfied with the outcome of the G8 summit this week, the pledge to launch climate negotiations in Bali in December 2007 and complete them in 2009 is a clear signal to the rest of the world that leading industrialised nations are serious about climate change - says leading development and advocacy agency, Christian Aid.
"What G8 leaders say has influence and if they support new talks at the UN and are pledging to take a lead in cutting emissions that signals serious intent to the rest of the world," says Andrew Pendleton, Christian Aid’s climate policy analyst who has been working in the Kühlungsborn press centre.
However, he adds: "It is disappointing that the US and Russia have not signed up to global cuts in emissions of at least 50 per cent by 2050, but important that Canada and Japan as well as the European G8 countries have."
"This will only be a success if the statesman-like words turn into hero-like actions," says Mr Pendleton.
In an impromptu statement to journalists, Angela Merkel confirmed that the G8’s statement on climate change would include a commitment to "substantial cuts" in emissions as well as the need to have reduction targets and to negotiate these as legally binding. She confirmed that the statement would note the support of Canada, Italy, France, Germany, Japan and the UK to cutting emissions by "at least 50 per cent by 2050."
"There’s clearly been a deal done whereby Mr Bush doesn’t have to sign up to the 50 per cent target in return for a clear statement supporting the launch of UN talks in Bali," says Mr Pendleton.
He continued: "It is important too that the G8 has said it will take the lead in these talks. Poor people are already on the frontline of climate change, but they’re not big emitters so they need leadership from rich countries."