Summit Leaders Pledge To Halve Greenhouse Gases

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President Bush and other world leaders agreed today to cut carbon emissions in half by 2050. The announcement comes out of ongoing talks at the G-8 summit in Japan. It also calls for emitters to set their own reduction targets in the shorter term, and encourages increased oil exploration.

BILL WOLFF: From NPR News in New York, this is the Bryant Park Project.

(Soundbite of music)

MIKE PESCA, host:

Overlooking historic Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan, live from NPR Studios, this is the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. News, information, stays crispy in milk. I'm Mike Pesca. It's Tuesday, July 8th, 2008.

If you know me, you know I like cereal. For years, a couple of denizens of the cereal aisle have eyed each other warily. When you think of cereals with holes in the middle, you think of, probably, Cheerios, or if you're in a more fun mood, you might think of Froot Loops. And there they were, the General Mills stalwart and the Kellogg's superstar. The Cheerios kind of staid and uptight, Froot Loops whacky. But recently Cheerios has gone into areas, you know, honey-nut, apple-cinnamon, frosted, and you knew it was time. Well, joining me now is Dan Pashman. Hello, Dan.

DAN PASHMAN: Hey, Mike. How are you?

PESCA: And we have - I'm well. We have in front of me something I just saw in the supermarket aisle yesterday.

PASHMAN: Yeah?

PESCA: Froot Loops, which is the old standard, and tell me what you have in your hand there, Dan.

PASHMAN: I've got here a box of the all-new Fruity Cheerios.

(Soundbite of box opening)

PESCA: Fruity Cheerios. Now, a couple of things strike me as I open this, and we're going to do a taste test. Or I try to open it. One, fruity, how do they spell "fruity"?

PASHMAN: Correctly.

PESCA: And Froot Loops is spelled F-R-O-O-T. So, that right away gives you an idea what they're going for. Also, what are some of the claims made on the box of the Fruity Cheerios?

PASHMAN: Well, apparently, it's flavored with real fruit juice. I'm not sure what kind of crazy market they're trying to appeal to with that kind of stuff, but nine grams of sugar? I don't know if that's a lot or a little.

PESCA: Yeah, I don't know.

PASHMAN: Excellent source of whole grain.

PESCA: Mm-hm. And also, as a point of comparison, as we taste these - so, pour some in your...

PASHMAN: Cup.

PESCA: I'll read the Froot Loops ingredients, or the first two, in order, sugar, corn flour. What are the Cheerios ingredients, in order?

PASHMAN: The Cheerios ingredients, in order, are whole-grain corn, sugar, whole-grain oats, corn syrup.

PESCA: Yeah. So, sugar comes first in the Froot Loops. Let's see. Let's see how it goes.

PASHMAN: Hey, do I taste the Fruity Cheerios?

PESCA: Those are Fruity Cheerios.

PASHMAN: Oh, these are Froot Loops already in here for me, eh?

PESCA: Yeah, yeah.

PASHMAN: All right, great.

PESCA: All right, so...

PASHMAN: I'm going milk. You going milk, Mike?

PESCA: No, I've got to go raw.

PASHMAN: All right.

PESCA: Otherwise I'm just tasting the milk. Maybe I should - I'll try the apple, or the green, versus the green directly.

PASHMAN: Oh, wow, you're going - that's pretty hardcore.

(Soundbite of chewing)

PESCA: Cheerios have a nice, subtle flavoring. The mouth - feel-in-mouth texture is excellent.

PASHMAN: Yeah. I mean, I barely even need to taste Froot Loops. I mean, the flavor of Froot Loops is burnt onto my consciousness.

(Soundbite of plastic rustling)

PESCA: All right, and here's the Froot Loops.

(Soundbite of crunch)

PASHMAN: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

PESCA: What do you think, Dan? I like the...

PASHMAN: You can't out-Froot Loop a Froot Loop.

PESCA: I think the Cheerios might have some staying power, a little less...

PASHMAN: Really?

PESCA: A little more adult. Yeah.

PASHMAN: They do - they taste healthier. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing.

PESCA: Right. All right. That was our little taste test. Thanks, Dan.

PASHMAN: All right, sure. Yeah.

PESCA: That's our service to you. Also on the show this hour, we'll be talking about the Olympics. It's a month until the Olympics start in Beijing. Advocacy groups seem to think that the Olympics, protesting them, can change policy. Who knows? We'll talk to the guy who wrote "The Complete Book of the Olympics," David Wallechinsky.

Vintage tech, using old technology in new ways. Producer Ian Chillag is here to talk with us about a guy who rigged up old computer technology to play a Radiohead song. And Jeffrey Toobin from the New Yorker stops by to give us a wrap on this year's Supreme Court decisions. We'll get today's headlines in just a minute, but first...

(Soundbite of music)

PESCA: President Bush and other world leaders agreed today to cut carbon emissions by half in 2050, the year he turns 104. The five-page recommendation comes out of ongoing talks at the G8 Summit in Japan. The White House quickly hailed the declaration as a major step forward, and said it was a validation of the president's global warming policy. He's long been arguing that major developing nations, like China and India, need to commit to reducing emissions as well. He says this agreement encourages them to do so. NPR's Anthony Kuhn is at the summit. He says Japan's Prime Minister is pleased.

ANTHONY KUHN: Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda told reporters that the G8 wanted to see all major economies contribute to the goal of halving emissions by mid-century.

(Soundbite of speech)

Prime Minister YASUO FUKUDA (Japan): (Japanese spoken)

KUHN: It is the current level of emissions that would be halved, Fukuda clarified. That's a far cry from the 1990 baseline that NGOs have pushed for. NGOs immediately panned the deal as inadequate.

PESCA: That's right. While world leaders are congratulating each other, many people are unhappy with the agreement. The BBC's Andrew Walker is also at the summit, and he says that the reactions - here are some of the reactions he's hearing.

ANDREW WALKER: I understand the South African government has described the statement as a regression. I can tell you that the development lobby group OXFAM talk about further stalling, rather than the breakthrough they say was needed. Another campaign group have acknowledged that there has been movement forward, but they say inching forward, when leaps and bounds are needed.

PESCA: Many environmental advocates are hoping for a firm commitment to lowered emissions by 2020 or 2030, but the agreement only calls for emitters to set their own reduction targets in the short term. It also urges nations to set high goals for energy efficiency and to promote clean-energy technologies. But even the G8 isn't singing in perfect harmony.

The White House is apologizing today for what it calls an unfortunate mistake. It passed out a packet with a biography of Italy Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The bio calls Berlusconi one of the, quote, "most controversial leaders in the history of a country, known for government corruption and vice." The White House says the bio came from the "Encyclopedia of World Biography," one of the few media outlets that Berlusconi does not own.

The G8 leaders will meet tomorrow with other major economic powers, including Brazil, India and China. You can go to npr.org throughout the day for updates on this story. Now let's get some more of today's headlines with the BPP's Mark Garrison.

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