It was a year ago that President George W. Bush participated in a surprising milestone: a Group of 8 Summit that saw world leaders agree to an aspirational global-warming goal: a 50% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Fast-forward to today, and President Barack Obama -- who, unlike his predecessor, has made global warming and clean energy a high priority of his administration -- has participated in a G8 Summit that rolled back that goal.
World leaders agreed to strive to prevent world temperatures from warming up 2 degrees (Celsius -- about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), but rolled back their commitment to slash emissions by 50% -- a goal that would require industrialized nations like the United States to cut emissions 80%.
The negotiations broke down, according to the New York Times because China and India wanted the industrialized nations to commit to a short-term 2020 goal before they agreed to a longer-term 2050 goal. The negotiations were also hobbled because Chinese President Hu Jintao had to leave the summit in Italy early to respond to riots in Western China.
It doesn't bode well for the upcoming United Nations negotiations set for December in Copenhagen, where world leaders are supposed to adopt a successor to the Kyoto Protocol -- which the U.S. Senate, under both President Bill Clinton and Bush, failed to ratify.
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