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Caritas says the G8 Summit in Japan has not gone far enough on cutting the necessary carbon emissions to stem global warming.

G8 leaders announced plans to cut carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2050. Caritas Internationalis says that figure falls short of what is needed to save the planet.

Caritas Internationalis Representative Joseph Cornelius Donnelly is at the G8 in Japan, representing the 162 member organisations of the Catholic charity network.

Mr. Donnelly said, “The G8 has a track record of producing glass is half full, glass is half empty statements. But now they’re playing heads or tails with the future of our planet in a decision that will affect generations to come long after this G8 is forgotten.

“Caritas welcomes the improvement in strengthening commitments from last year. If this is the base starting point of negotiations then we’re in business. If it is the hoped for goal then it represents a huge failure in leadership.”

The G8 said mid-term goals would be needed to hit the shared target, but that it would be up to individual countries to adopt them. Last year, the same countries agreed only to “seriously consider” a cut of 50 percent by 2050.

Caritas says that to maintain life as we know it now, we need to cut green-house gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 to keep global warming below an increase of 2°C over the base pre-industrial period temperatures of the planet.

The poor and marginalized are the most vulnerable to natural disasters caused or aggravated by climate change. Over 20 million people were affected by flooding in South Asia last year, Mexico had the worst floods for 50 years and huge swathes of Africa from the Atlantic seaboard to the Indian Ocean were under water.

The danger is that inadequate resources pledged to development will be diverted to climate change. Caritas hopes that the final G8 communiqué pledges action on climate change with extra aid on development.

Adaptation programs that help developing countries address the threats caused by climate change will cost an estimated US$50bn each year. Calculated on ability to pay, and by their historic contribution to the causes of climate change, the United States of America, the European Union, Japan, Canada and Australia should contribute over 95 percent of the finance needed.

Joseph Donnelly is the Caritas Internationalis Head of Delegation to the UN in New York. He is campaigning at G8 civil society events alongside Caritas Japan.

Please contact Mr Donnelly on (+81) 080.6093.6170 or (+81) 090 7739 9528 or caritasny@aol.com

Head of Communications at Caritas Internationalis: Patrick Nicholson on +39 06 69879725 or +39 00334 3590700 or e-mail nicholson@caritas.va