Top climate scientist blasts G8 climate pledge

PARIS, July 8, 2008 (AFP) – One of the world’s most respected climate scientists on Tuesday slammed the G8 summit’s goal of halving global warming emissions by 2050 as “worse than worthless.” Leaders of the world’s richest nations, meeting in Japan, “are taking actions that guarantee that we deliver to our children climate catastrophes that are out of our control,” US expert James Hansen said in an e-mail to AFP.

Hansen, who heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, was one of the first climate scientists to sound an alarm about the threat of global warming.

In a landmark study published in 1981, Hansen predicted that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from human activity would accelerate climate change far more quickly than previously thought.

At their summit in the resort town of Toyako, the leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) nations — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States — agreed Tuesday to “consider and adopt” the goal of achieving the 50-percent cut in worldwide emissions by mid-century.

But they made no targeted pledge for action next decade, nor did they mention specific action against coal, which Hansen cha