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Japan To Drop CO2 Pledge If No Broader Climate Deal

Date: 15-Dec-09
Country: JAPAN
Author: Chisa Fujioka

TOKYO - Japan threatened on Friday to drop a pledge to cut greenhouse emissions by 25 percent by 2020 if the Kyoto Protocol is extended without setting emission reduction goals for the United States and China.

Developed and developing nations, gathered at a December 7-18 U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen, remain deeply divided on emissions cuts and legal details in talks to agree the outline of a pact to extend or replace the existing Kyoto Protocol.

Many rich nations, including Japan, want a single new treaty that would set curbs on emissions by all major nations and are against simply extending the Kyoto agreement.

The United States never ratified Kyoto and is not among the 37 industrialized nations committed to emissions targets during Kyoto's 2008-20012 first commitment period.

Poor nations prefer a two-track approach, which would extend Kyoto with deep emissions cuts for the rich, while creating a new, less binding accord for the poor.

Japanese Environment Minister Sakihito Ozawa, speaking before leaving for the Copenhagen talks, said Japan would reiterate that its emissions cut target, based on 1990 levels, was premised on ambitious goals being agreed by all major emitters.

Japan had no plan to offer an alternative, watered-down pledge, he said.

"There's no meaning to simply extending a Kyoto Protocol that doesn't include the United States or numbers from China," Ozawa told a news conference.

"We're not at all thinking of (pledging) a number in that case."

Ozawa declined to say how much Japan would offer in extra funding to developing countries to fight climate change, though he said the government still wanted to pay more than a previously announced $9.2 billion until 2012.

The Copenhagen talks are expected to deliver agreement on an initial fund of around $10 billion a year until 2012 to help poor nations fight climate change and make their economies greener.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is expected to join a summit of 110 world leaders at the end of the talks next week.

Japan's government has come under fire over its target from business groups at home, worried about extra costs hurting industries ranging from power generation and steel to cement, just as the economy is seen at risk of a second recession.

(Editing by Michael Watson)

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