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This year’s annual Group of Eight summit, hosted by Italy, is expected to focus on complex political and economic issues of immediate concern, ranging from North Korea and Iran to international economic and financial recovery.

But the presidents and prime ministers of Japan, the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Russia and Italy may find their toughest task is showing international leadership on climate change. Between the summit in L’Aquila and an international climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December, where a successor to the Kyoto Protocol will be hammered out, G8 countries face growing pressure to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades by amounts scientists say are needed to stave off a global climate catastrophe, yet are also politically doable and economically convincing to voters in developed countries.

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