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Home >> World
UPDATED: 19:25, June 06, 2007
Backgrounder: Issues to be discussed at G8 summit
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The leaders from the G8 industrialized nations are meeting on Wednesday in the German Baltic resort of Heiligendamm. The following are some of the key issues to be discussed at the three-day meeting.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Germany, which holds the rotating G8 presidency, calls for actions to limit the rise in global temperatures to two degrees Celsius this century and to cut carbon emissions by 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

However, the United States, the world's biggest greenhouse gas producer, voiced "fundamental opposition" to the German proposal, making climate change one of the most controversial issues during the upcoming G8 summit.

Shortly before the summit, U.S. President George W. Bush announced a separate plan, calling on 15 of the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitters to meet and agree on long-term goals by the end of 2008.

The United States, which has not signed the Kyoto Treaty aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the world, remains opposed to mandatory targets, citing that environmental protection cannot come at the price of hurting economic growth.

U.S. MISSILE PLAN IN EASTERN EUROPE

Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently threatened to take "retaliatory steps," including looking for new targets for nuclear weapons, if the United States continues with its plan to build a missile defense system in Eastern Europe.

The United States plans to place a radar system in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland in the name of defending possible attacks from Iran.

Russia has accused Washington of raising a new arms race in the region, which Washington denies.

HEDGE FUNDS

Germany is calling for more transparency in the trillion-dollar hedge fund industry, but was rejected by Britain and the United States, where most of the hedge funds are based.

Germany is concerned that rapid growth of the hedge funds could destabilize the entire global financial system.

The finance ministers of the G8 nations failed to reach an agreement over the issue when they met two weeks ago in Potsdam, Germany. Hedge funds are estimated to cover over 1 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide.

DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA

The leaders of the G8 nations agreed two years ago to raise the development aid for Africa by 50 billion U.S. dollars by 2010, but critics say those nations fall short of delivering their promises.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, hoping the G8 summit could mark a new boost in the aid package for Africa, announced that Germany would increase its aid by 3 billion euros (3.6 billion U.S. dollars) between 2008 and 2011.

However, the G8 nations remain divided over what promises can be made during the summit over the development assistance in Africa.

Bush said last week he would increase AIDS funding in 2008-2013 to 30 billion U.S. dollars, but would prefer to channel the money through the

U.S. government's "President's emergency plan for AIDS relief."

REGIONAL SECURITY

The leaders are also likely to discuss whether the UN Security Council should proceed with a draft resolution dealing with the future of Kosovo.

Russia, which opposes a plan to give the province effective independence from Serbia, has threatened to veto the resolution if it is put to a vote.

The leaders may also talk about Iran's nuclear program and the security situation in the Middle East.

The G8 club groups the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada and Russia.

Source: Xinhua


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