The world should move away from using fossil fuels by the end of this century, G7 leaders said after their annual huddle yesterday, setting an ambitious but distant goal ahead of a global conference on climate change this year. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose turn it was to host the annual summit, pressed for a commitment to "decarbonize" the global economy—that is, to eliminate most carbon dioxide emissions from burning oil, gas, and coal. The leaders agreed to press for a reduction, by 2050, of 40% to 70% in the 2010 global emission levels of the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.
The leaders of seven wealthy democracies also warned Russia—which was kicked out of the group last year—that sanctions imposed for its actions against Ukraine would remain until a ceasefire is fully observed—and those sanctions could be made tougher if the situation requires. At the close of the summit, President Obama delivered what the Guardian deems his strongest criticism yet of Vladimir Putin. "Does he continue to wreck his country's economy and continue Russia's isolation in pursuit of a wrong-headed desire to re-create the glories of the Soviet empire?" Obama asked. "Or does he recognize that Russia's greatness does not depend on violating the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other countries?" (Read more climate change stories.)