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Japan Pours Cold Water On German G8 Proposals As US Makes Counter-Proposal

Japan believes there should be no progression beyond the Kyoto protocol until the world's major greenhouse emitters agree to join the current emission reducution processes.
by Staff Writers
Potsdam (AFP) Germany, May 30, 2007
Japan said on Wednesday that German proposals to complete negotiations on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases by 2009 were "premature." German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants the summit of the Group of Eight most industrialised nations in the German town of Heiligendamm next week to produce a clear commitment on limiting greenhouse gases.

Asia and Europe failed to agree on the issue of the 2009 deadline proposed by Germany at two days of talks in the northern German city of Hamburg which ended on Tuesday.

Japan, which has been leading efforts among Asian nations to limit global warming, said it believed major emitters of greenhouse gases such as the United States, China and India should agree to join the process before any timetable was put in place.

"The EU, especially Germany, wanted to set a time limit of negotiations, saying they should be completed by the end of 2009," Japanese foreign ministry spokesman Mitsuo Sakaba told journalists on the sidelines of a meeting of G8 foreign ministers outside Berlin on Wednesday.

"But the Japanese government cannot agree with this point because the main emitters, the United States, China and India, should join us and only when they join us should we start.

"Until we know if they will join us, it is premature."

The spokesman stressed that climate change was not on the agenda of the talks in Potsdam, but said it would dominate the Heiligendamm summit.

He said Japan believed serious discussions about climate change had only just begun.

"This is an important step here in Germany, but it is not the final stage at all," Sakaba said.

"Japan will host the G8 summit next year when we will have a very important opportunity to discuss this issue as a high level.

The United States has already expressed serious concern at the wording of the German statement on climate change to be presented at Heiligendamm.

India and China also reiterated this week that they were opposed to binding targets for carbon emissions because they fear such a step would restrict economic growth.

earlier related report
US to make counter-proposal on climate change: press
Berlin (AFP) May 30 - The United States will call at the upcoming G8 summit for a new accord on climate change that binds only the countries that contribute most to the phenomenon, the German press said on Wednesday.

Washington wants the new pact on the environment to be concluded by 2009, the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported, citing a US text to be tabled at the June 6-8 summit.

"We are committed to finding an agreement on a framework for a new accord by the end of 2008," it quoted the document as saying.

The US proposal risks worsening a row with Germany, the current G8 president, which is seeking a strong resolution on fighting climate change at the summit and wants to bring as many nations as possible to the table.

Greenpeace spokesman Joerg Feddern criticised the US proposal as an attempt to undermine the United Nations' Kyoto process with its mandatory restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions.

"This is fatal for climate protection," Feddern told AFP.

Under the Kyoto Procotol, 35 industrialised nations that have signed and ratified the pact are required to make targeted cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2).

The United States, the world's number one emitter of greenhouse gases, has refused ratify the protocol and abide by the Kyoto process.

China and India's status as developing nations exempts them from mandatory targets on greenhouse gas output, though they are fast becoming big emitters of greenhouse gases as they burn oil, gas and coal to power their economies.

The US administration cited this as a reason for not ratifying the protocol, which runs until 2012.

This week China and India both signalled that they were not ready to accept binding targets on cutting emissions in the post-Kyoto era either.

UN negotiations on a new protocol on climate change will begin in earnest at a conference in Bali in December.

Washington strongly objects to a draft declaration on climate change that Chancellor Angela Merkel wants world leaders to adopt at next week's Group of Eight summit in Heiligendamm in northern Germany next week.

The text calls for a commitment to cutting global greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 and limiting the worldwide temperature rise this century to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Source: Agence France-Presse

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California, Ontario Join Forces On Stem Cell, Global Warming Efforts
Ottawa (AFP) May 30, 2007
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced plans Wednesday to join forces to advance stem cell research and curb global warming. "Today, Canada's most populous province and America's most populous state have joined together to tackle one of our greatest challenges," said McGuinty at Toronto's Medical and Related Sciences (MaRS) Center, outlining Ontario's plans for stringent new fuel standards, in line with California rules.

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