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PM hails "breakthrough" of G8 summit

PM hails "breakthrough" of G8 summit

An oil refinery sends smoke into the morning sky; image copyright: Reuters The Prime Minister has told MPs that the G8 summit in Germany last week brought a "real breakthrough" on climate change and progress on Africa.

In a statement to the House of Commons, Mr Blair stressed the importance of a G8 agreement on the need for substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions "for the very first time".

He also noted the US pledge to be part of any future deal and to take the lead in establishing a consensus on climate change with nations such as India and China.

The summit agreement in Heiligendamm included a promise to thrash out a new global deal on climate change by 2009, with the prospect of cutting emissions by 50 per cent by 2050 to be given "serious consideration". Mr Blair said that the summit was never expected to finalise a deal, but rather to send a signal on the best way forward.

The Prime Minister said:

"There is still a long way to go but for the first time an outline agreement can now be seen that meets the environmental test of cutting substantially the harmful emissions and the political test of bringing developed and developing nations, notably America and China, together.

"Much remains to be done. But on any basis, this is a substantial step forward."

On Africa, Mr Blair pointed to the recommitment of the G8 nations to deliver "universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment by 2010", a commitment involving the provision of £30 billion "over the next few years".

Additionally, £250 million would be set aside to help achieve universal education for children in Africa and action would be taken towards establishing an African peacekeeping force.

The Prime Minister also referred to G8 discussions on forging an outline deal on world trade by the end of June, and to bilateral talks with President Putin on continuing tensions with Russia over the Litvinenko affair and the US plan for a "missile defence shield" in Europe.

ENDS

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