KRUEN, Germany, June 8, 2015 (ENS) – Leaders of the G7 nations today pledged to take “urgent and concrete action” on climate change this year, including a new legally-binding climate agreement to be hammered out at the UN Climate Summit in Paris in December.

In a communique issued at the end of the G7 meeting in Kruen, the leaders said they are committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 70 percent by 2050, compared to 2010 levels, and decarbonizing their economies by the end of the century.

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G7 leaders Kruen, Germany, June 8, 2015. (Photo courtesy G7)

These moves are intended to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above preindustrial levels. World leaders agreed to work toward this goal at the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009.

In thee communique, the G7 leaders committed to negotiating “another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force” that would include all the world’s governments.

Scheduled to take effect in 2020, it would replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which covered only industrialized countries. The United States never ratified the Protocol and Canada has opted out of its commitments under that pact.

The G7 leaders said the Paris climate agreement must be “ambitious, robust, inclusive and reflects evolving national circumstances.”

“We continue to make progress toward a strong climate agreement,” President Barack Obama said in a news conference immediately after the conclusion of the G7 meeting.

Hosting the G7 leaders was German Chancellor Angela Merkel. At the table were: French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, EU Council President Donald Tusk, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper.

“At the Paris summit, which we want to be a success, I will be pushing for binding agreements,” said President Juncker. “This is not just a discussion between North and South. It is actually a discussion between this generation and the generations to come. This puts us all to the test.”

“We have committed to reduce CO2 emissions by 40 percent in comparison to 1990. We have shown that you have to be ambitious, said Juncker. “We have been ambitious. We were able to reduce the emissions from 1990 to 2013 by 19 percent although the GDP was increasing by 45 percent. We would like others to join us. If we are reducing emissions by 40 percent in comparison to 1990 this would in fact mean that all the emissions of the UK, Germany and France would have been brought down to zero.”

The G7 leaders met as the latest round of UN climate negotiations are underway in Bonn, Germany through June 11.

The world has before it a unique opportunity to build a better future for all, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared Sunday in Bonn, where he urged broad support for  protecting the planet, ensuring sustainable development and unleashing the finances and technology to ensure these vital goals are achieved.

“This year, 2015, is a year for global action – a once-in-a-generation opportunity to put our world on more peaceful, sustainable and equitable footing,” Ban said, adding that tomorrow he will urge the leaders of the world’s largest economies to uphold their moral and political responsibilities – “and to take the difficult yet sensible steps that will achieve our goals.”

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