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G8 urged to adopt greenhouse emission targets


MUNICH, Germany—Munich, Germany-based Allianz S.E. and Munich Reinsurance Co. are among more than 20 financial services and insurance companies calling on leaders gathering at this week's Group of Eight summit to support strict greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

The companies—members of the United Nations Environment Programme's Finance Initiative—said in a statement Tuesday that G8 heads of state should formally adopt emission reduction targets no later than 2009.

They suggested that proposals by the United Kingdom and the European Union—setting out mandatory emission reductions of between 20% and 30% by 2020, and 60% to 80% by 2050—should be central to their goals.

The companies fear that unchecked climate change is likely to lead to an increase in climate-related disasters, with "grave social and environmental harm," according to the statement, including annual economic losses that could rise as high as $1 trillion by 2040.

The statement—signed by 23 top executives at banks, insurers, and other financial service providers—was developed by the UNEP Finance Initiative's Climate Change Working Group. A spokesman for UNEP FI said the statement remains open for signatures by other companies.

"Setting clear and mandatory, medium and long-term emission reduction targets, and implementing appropriate incentive schemes should be part of a new climate change regime," said Joachim Faber, member of the executive board at Allianz and CEO of Allianz Global Investors, in a press release.