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At G-8, Small Steps on Emissions, Economic Recovery

Leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized nations gathered in Italy on Wednesday to assess risks to the global economy and other key issues at their annual meeting. Margaret Warner reports from the summit.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    And now two looks at stimulating the economy. First, Margaret Warner reports on the international effort at the economic summit in L'Aquila, Italy. She talked earlier this evening with Judy Woodruff from the International Press Center, where journalists and officials from dozens of countries have gathered.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Hi there, Margaret. So, going into this meeting, the big concern was the economy, the worldwide recession. How are these leaders addressing that?

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    Judy, it hangs heavy over this meeting and quite differently, I think, from the G-20 in London, first of all, in April, where though there was a sense of economic crisis, there was also the sense that the leaders were getting together for the first time, taking steps together, and there was forward momentum.

    This time, there is this sort of sense that the green shoots of recovery have stalled or at least the momentum has, and the leaders are wondering about when and whether the stimulus plans will work.

    In that climate, we just were told — and the statements haven't even come out yet — that today's meeting, which is the only major G-8 economic meeting of the entire three days, really just reaffirmed what they did in London, recommitted everyone to continue with their stimulus plans, said of course at some point we'll have to unwind from the heavy spending, and people should — countries should start planning for that, but not institute it yet.

    The one thing they did do was take steps to help the poorest countries who've been very hard hit by this. I mean, the estimates are 20 million to 90 million additional people have been plunged into desperate poverty by the crisis.

    And they are committing to what they call a Food Security Initiative, where the richer countries will commit — I think it's $12 billion to $15 billion to actually help agricultural development in these countries.

    But on the big-picture global economic downturn, this is really a way station between the G-20 in London and the G-20 coming up in Pittsburgh. And I think it's really testament to the recognition here that you can't do an international response to a global crisis without the G-20 members who aren't members of this smaller G-8, namely China and India, to start with.