Japan minister eyes deeper cuts in greenhouse gas

         

AFP, 30th January 2008

TOKYO (AFP) Japan should look at cutting greenhouse emissions by even more than the 50 percent by 2050 sought by the last Group of Eight summit, the environment minister said Tuesday.

Japan, home of the landmark Kyoto Protocol, is hoping to play a major role in the fight against global warming when it hosts the next summit of the Group of Eight major economies in July.

The previous summit in Germany last year agreed to "seriously consider" 50 percent cuts by 2050, as recommended by UN climate experts. But there was no binding commitment and the base year for the reductions was ambiguous.

"A 50 percent reduction by countries including developed nations has been advocated but it is common sense that developed countries aim for deeper cuts," Environment Minister Ichiro Kamoshita told reporters.

"Japan should naturally make efforts towards a cut of more than 50 percent," he said.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on Monday also told a parliamentary committee that Japan may need to do more.

"Our country will halve emissions in 2050 as they peak out in 20-30 years," he said. "If other countries cannot halve them, Japan may have to do extra efforts on their behalf."

Current controversy surrounds what commitments nations would undertake from 2013 to 2020. The Kyoto Protocol requires rich nations to slash emissions by an average of five percent between 2008 and 2012 from 1990 levels.

The United States has rejected the Kyoto Protocol, arguing it is unfair by making no demands of fast-growing emerging economies such as China and India.

Fukuda, speaking to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Saturday, called for every emitter to set an emissions cut target from 2013 and for the United States and China both to take part in a post-Kyoto framework.

Fukuda also called for a change in the base year to calculate cuts from the current 1990.

Critics of the 1990 base say it makes it harder for China and India, whose economies have skyrocketed in recent years, to make commitments and that it favours the European Union, as some of its members were then heavily polluting members of the Soviet bloc.





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