Japan: Will Keep Seeking Wider Climate Pact Than Kyoto
Author: Risa Maeda
Smoke billows from chimneys at an industrial district in Tokyo December 28, 2009.
Photo: Reuters/Yuriko Nakao
Japan will continue to push for a broad climate treaty, that would include major greenhouse gas emitters China and the United States, as an accord reached last week in Mexico left the door open to such a possibility, its environment minister said.
Minister of the Environment Ryu Matsumoto, who headed Japanese delegates at the U.N climate talks in Cancun, said on Tuesday Japan would continue to push for a wider framework than the Kyoto Protocol whose current round ends in 2012 and obliges almost 40 rich countries -- except the United States, which never ratified it -- to cut emissions blamed for warming the planet or face penalties.
At Cancun, Japan, along with Canada and Russia, opposed extending Kyoto, a position which developing countries blamed for causing a major delay in U.N.-led climate talks.
Matsumoto reiterated that Japan would prefer a broader agreement, based on pledged emission-cut goals by 140 countries including the United States and China under the Copenhagen Accord, reached last year. He said Kyoto is out-dated as it covers less than 30 percent of current global emissions.
"We held bilateral talks with dozens of countries (at Cancun) in which we said we should keep up with the Copenhagen Accord," Matsumoto said.
"I think Japan's argument to some extent has been understood."
He also said Japan would stick to its plan to introduce a compulsory emissions trading system and other green steps included in a climate bill Tokyo has submitted to parliament.
The government, which doesn't have a majority in the upper house, will need to rely on other parties to pass the climate bill next year.
(Editing by Joseph Radford)