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G-7 aims to limit global warming to 2 degrees

G-7 aims to limit global warming to 2 degrees
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The leaders of seven of the world’s richest countries pledged Monday to work to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

The ambitious goal matches a level that scientists have agreed upon in recent years, saying it would prevent the most catastrophic effects of climate change.

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It was part of a declaration from the leaders of the United States, Germany, France, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan and Italy — known as the Group of 7 or G-7 — after a meeting in southern Germany.

The leaders set out their target for the United Nations’ conference in Paris this December, where they intend to work on a global climate pact.

“The agreement should enhance transparency and accountability including through binding rules at its core to track progress towards achieving targets, which should promote increased ambition over time,” the G-7 declaration says.

“This should enable all countries to follow a low-carbon and resilient development pathway in line with the global goal to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2 °C.”

To meet that goal, the leaders called for deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and a sharp reduction in the use of carbon-intensive fossil fuels.

They said the world should shoot to reduce greenhouse gases 40 percent to 70 percent by 2050, though leaders would prefer to see cuts toward the upper end of that range.

While scientific models vary greatly, they generally expect the earth to warm by about 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 Fahrenheit) by 2100 if emissions continue on their current course.

Environmentalists were glad to see a strong declaration from the major economies.

“The G7 is sending a signal that the world must move away from fossil fuels, and investors should take notice,” May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, said in a statement.

“This long-term decarbonization goal will make evident to corporations and financial markets that the most lucrative investments will stem from low-carbon technologies,” said Jennifer Morgan, global director of the World Resources Institute’s Climate Program.

“This target must also be a key element of an ambitious international climate agreement,” she added.