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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

G8 Leaders Strike Deal on Climate

HEILIGENDAMM, Germany -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Group of Eight leaders agreed Thursday to call for "substantial cuts" to greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming, hailing it as a big success.

She said a summit declaration called for cutting emissions in half by 2050 -- a deal it had appeared she would not reach due to persistent opposition by U.S. President George W. Bush, binding commitments on reductions.

The language of the declaration falls short, however, of an ironclad commitment. It says the world's biggest emitters of greenhouse gases should "seriously consider" following the European Union, Canada and Japan in seeking to cut emissions in half by 2050.

Merkel, who has made climate change the centerpiece of Germany's G8 leadership, had steadily lobbied fellow leaders on climate change for months before they began arriving to this seaside resort for their annual summit.

"No one can escape this political declaration; it is an enormous step forward," she told reporters.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair was asked whether there was "wiggle room" in the declaration. "There isn't going to be an agreement until there's an agreement that has America and China in it," he said. "There is now a process to lead to that agreement and at its heart is a commitment to a substantial cut."

"What does substantial mean? That serious consideration is given to the halving of emissions by 2050," Blair said.