While the agreement is not legally binding, German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is sure that "no-one can escape this declaration". Merkel feels that it is a great success that all eight of the G8 countries now acknowledge the results of the UN's most recent climate report (by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

"The industrialized countries must take the first step," said Merkel. "We need to work together to get as many countries as possible across the world to undertake to do something."

The G8 leaders say that negotiations under the UN should be finished by 2009. These should then feed into the second phase of the Kyoto protocol, which currently expires in 2012.

"It is very encouraging that the G8 is ready to work with the 5+ countries [China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico] on long-term strategies and that major emitters of the process will report back to the UNFCCC [United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change] by 2008," said Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of UNFCCC.

This year, the UNFCCC is set to hold climate-change negotiation meetings in Vienna in August and in Bali in December.

The G8 leaders say that they also want to use new financial tools to support climate protection projects in developing countries, for example the proceeds from the auctioning of emissions rights.

The G8 nations are Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Japan, the US, Canada and Russia. The European Union is also represented at all G8 meetings.