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Germany Sees Developing Nations Drawn into Climate Battle

The major developing countries are being drawn into climate-control policies under a process initiated during the German presidency of the Group of Eight, officials said in Berlin ahead of the G8 summit in Japan.

A plant sprouts in a dry field

A set of developing and emerging countries will meet with the G8 leaders in Tokyo

The Heiligendamm Process, under which G8 members meet regularly with the five-strong Outreach Group -- Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa -- had shown progress over the past year, German government sources said on Thursday, July 3.

Noting that the United States had declined to ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions precisely because major developing countries, particularly China and India, were freed from its obligations, they said these countries were now being drawn into global climate change initiatives.

Divvying up climate responsibility

The Outreach Five, together with Australia, Indonesia and Korea, are to join G8 members in a meeting on climate change next week at the Tokyo summit on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, which starts Monday.

The German government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, indicated the final declaration would refer to a "common but differentiated responsibility" in this regard.

Chancellor Angela Merkel put climate change at the top of the G8 agenda under last year's German presidency.

At the Heiligendamm Summit in June last year, she pushed a reluctant US President George W. Bush finally to acknowledge the scientific arguments underpinning the climate change debate.

The Outreach Five group was established at the British G8 summit at Gleneagles in 2005, its members meeting irregularly with G8 members. The Heiligendamm Process put these meetings on a more regular and formal footing.

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