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No US overseas aid for climate change: Senators

Japan stands firm on Kyoto in Cancun
Cancun, Mexico (UPI) Dec 2, 2010 - Japan has stirred the climate negotiations taking place in Cancun, Mexico, at the onset with its blunt declaration that it would not agree to extend the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012. Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Yoshito Sengoku, told reporters Monday in Cancun that Tokyo would "sternly oppose debate for extending the Kyoto Protocol into a second phase which is unfair and ineffective." The Kyoto Protocol, the first phase of which expires in 2012, was adopted in 1997. As of July 2010, 191 nations had ratified the protocol, which commits 37 industrialized countries to cut emissions by an average of 5 percent of 1990 levels by 2012. China and the United States, however, are not bound by the treaty, even though they have the highest rates of emissions.

Jun Arima, deputy director general for environmental affairs at Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, publicly confirmed Tuesday Tokyo's opposition to an extension, saying, "Japan will not inscribe its target under the Kyoto Protocol on any conditions or under any circumstances." Chinese news agency Xinhua on Thursday quoted Brazilian Ambassador for Climate Change Sergio Serra as saying Japan's position on the issue "obviously will" be an obstacle to the Cancun negotiations "unless Japan compromises a little bit." "There is no way to move forward if we don't have the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol," he said. Japan's position underscores the government's determination to establish what it has considered a "fair and effective" emissions-reduction framework in which all major emitters, including China and the United States, can participate as one to succeed the legally binding Kyoto treaty. Even though Japanese Prime Naoto Kan said in October he was opposed to extending the Kyoto Protocol beyond the 2012 expiry date if a replacement agreement is not reached in time, Japan's announcement in Cancun took many negotiators by surprise.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Dec 2, 2010
The United States must freeze climate-change aid payments to developing countries to help them implement a global plan agreed in Denmark's capital last year, four US lawmakers said Thursday.

Republican Senators John Barrasso, James Inhofe, David Vitter, and George Voinovich told US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Washington cannot to spend the money at a time of swelling deficits and a bloated national debt.

"We remain opposed to the US commitment to full implementation of the Copenhagen Accord, which will transfer billions of US taxpayer dollars to developing nations in the name of climate change," they said in a letter.

"We do not believe that billions of US taxpayer dollars should be transferred to developing countries through unaccountable multilateral or bilateral channels for adaptation, deforestation and other international climate finance programs," they told the top US diplomat.

The lawmakers said total US climate-related government spending in 2010 reached 1.3 billion dollars, and President Barack Obama has requested 1.9 billion for 2011 -- out of 3.6 trillion dollars in annual government spending.

"We request that the administration freeze further spending requests to implement international climate change finance programs. This would include making no additional international commitments to fund such programs," they said.

Republicans routed Obama's Democratic allies in November 2 elections, retaking the House of Representatives and slicing deep into the Democratic majority in the Senate, giving them a firmer grip on the reins in Washington.

House Republicans announced late Wednesday that they were dismantling the committee, created by Democrats, focused on battling climate change, calling it a waste of money.

earlier related report
Developing nations meet EU over climate change, health
Kinshasa (AFP) Dec 2, 2010 - Parliamentarians from the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of nations on Thursday kicked off wide-ranging talks with their European Union counterparts in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Global warming, mortality in childbirth and conflict in central Africa were all on the agenda, according to organisers.

"The majority of member states of the paritary ACP-EU parliamentary assembly are among those that make the lowest contributions to greenhouse gases" causing global warming, DR Congo President Joseph Kabila said in opening remarks.

"The asymetric nature of the situation in terms of responsibility for the warning of the planet and exposure to its consequences is morally unacceptable, politically and economically unsupportable," Kabila told some 450 lawmakers from 110 countries. "It calls for courageous and responsible decisions."

The co-presidents of the ACP-EU assembly, the Zambian David Matongo and the Belgian Louis Michel both stressed the importance of the themes set down for debate, including climate change, insecurity in the Sahel, maternal mortality and the situations in DR Congo and central Africa.

According to the assembly's economic development commission, transfers of technology with low rates of carbon emission from wealthy to the most vulnerable nations, particularly those in the ACP group, are "a key element of any international response" to help cope with climate change.

Only 0.2 percent of European aid is currently invested in renewable energy. But Africa's potential in renewable energy is hugely under-exploited, with only seven percent of the hydraulic dam potential and one percent of geothermal energy currently being used, according to a report to be debated on Friday.

The matter of maternal mortality will be raised by Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore, according to the organisers.

Delegates will also give an international award, the Jean Rey prize, to the Congolese gynaecologist Denis Mukwege, founder of the Panzi hospital at Bukavu in the southwest Sud-Kivu province, a specialist in caring for women who have been the victim of multiple rapes.

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Record-High Greenhouse Gas Concentrations
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