The leaders of the world's richest countries gathering today in Heiligendamm, Germany, must keep the promises they made two years ago at the leneagles summit and must act rapidly to prevent catastrophic climate change. That is the message of the Catholic aid agency CAFOD, on the eve of the German G8. Two years ago 250,000 people marched in Edinburgh to "Make Poverty History". G8 leaders responded with a promise to increase aid by $50 billion a year by 2010 and to double aid to Africa - from $25 to $50 billion a year - also by 2010. Now those promises are at risk of being abandoned. "This is not acceptable," said George Gelber, CAFOD's Head of Public Policy. "Do thousands of people have to get out onto the streets again, just to make the leaders of the world's richest countries keep their word. Angela Merkel has talked about sending a "message of trust" to Africa. This message will come back "return to sender" unless the Gleneagles promises are kept." "When leaders of developing countries sign debt agreements, they are held to those agreements for decades at the cost of millions of poor people. But the signature of a western leader in 2005 seems to be negotiable when it is on an aid agreement," says Charity Musamba, CAFOD partner from Zambia. CAFOD welcomes President Bush's acknowledgement that climate change is a reality and that it requires international action, but his proposals for alternative negotiations without clear targets are an obstacle to effective progress. Climate change is a slow motion tsunami that threatens the livelihoods of the poor around the world with rising sea levels, drought and violent storms and flooding." CAFOD wants to see an 80 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and endorses the need for a global climate treaty. CAFOD will be following developments here at Heiligendamm.
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