Japan to Work on New Global Climate Framework


(Reuters) – Japan said it aims to propose an alternative to the Kyoto Protocol in coming months, after criticizing the international climate framework as neither using effective technology nor including major emitters.

Tokyo will come up with a set of proposals to fight global warming beyond 2012, including bilateral agreements between countries on emission offsets generated by the use of clean-energy technology, government officials said on Thursday.

The move underlined Japan’s urgent need to regain the trust of developing countries, many of which have blamed Japan’s opposition to extending the Kyoto Protocol for causing a major delay in U.N.-led climate talks.

“We are not at all looking backward. We now think we should come up with a Japan proposal,” said Ikuro Sugawara, director-general at the trade ministry’s industrial science and technology policy and environment bureau.

“We should draw a vision of what the globe should be, use Japan’s wisdom (on clean-energy technology) and propose what can be done with the remaining 96 percent of emissions,” he said at a meeting of the ministry’s climate policy advisory panel.

At the last U.N. meeting in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of 2010, governments put off tough decisions until this year on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Japan at that time argued that Kyoto is out of date because it covers less than 30 percent of current global emissions, including a 4 percent share for Japan, and fails to provide a solution.

The protocol, whose current round ends in 2012, obliges almost 40 rich countries — except the United States — to cut emissions or face penalties.

Last week, Prime Minister Naoto Kan made public, albeit with few details, Japan’s intention to take the lead in areas of the environment this year.

“In addition to the existing framework for environmental countermeasures … I would like to put forth a new international initiative addressing Asian environmental challenges in particular,” Kan said in a speech on foreign policy.

The internal process to come up with such a proposal in Japan will have little to do with a split parliament, which makes it difficult to pass bills related to next fiscal year’s budget as well as those for policy measures on domestic emission cuts.

Article by Risa Maeda; Edited by Jane Baird; appearing courtesy Reuters.

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