The G8 summit of world leaders held in L’Aquila in Italy committed itself to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
But the meeting failed to make short-term targets to reduce emissions.
This is despite warnings from a United Nations panel that emissions must be cut by between 25 and 40 percent by 2020 to keep average global temperatures from rising more than two degrees celsius.
Such an increase is seen as a tipping point after which the planet faces irreparable damage. The sooner the cuts in emissions are made the greater the environmental benefit.
The charity Oxfam has said chronic hunger may be “the defining human tragedy of this century” as climate change causes growing seasons to shift, crops to fail and storms and droughts to ravage fields.
The richest nations of the world are the biggest polluters but the summit agreed they could buy carbon allowances from poorer countries to help reach their targets.
As a result, the richest nations would have to make 40 percent cuts while the poorest would have to reduce emissions by 60 percent.
Attention now turns to the December climate change conference being held in Copenhagen.
Global protests are planned demanding immediate action to save our world.