Environmental targets must be realistic, Gore says

Japan and the United States should work together to forge a consensus on dealing with climate change and on other pressing global environmental issues, U.S. Vice President Al Gore said Mar. 24 on the closing day of an international symposium on the environment.

At the end of the three-day symposium in Tokyo, participants hammered out the Tokyo Declaration 1997 to reflect their discussions on various environmental issues. The declaration spelled out four pressing issues that need to be dealt with immediately.

On financing of environmental projects, it urged industrialized nations to increase official development assistance to promote sustainable development and to set clear targets for their investments in those projects. It also proposed that the world community promote technology transfers in the environmental and medical fields and establish Global Green Corps as part of the U.N. volunteer system to fight poverty throughout the world.

On reforms of production and consumption patterns, participants echoed calls for “responsible production” and called on businesses and consumers to change the culture of consumption in the modern society. The declaration finally proposed a global communications network to facilitate immediate exchange of information on the environment.

According to the organizer, the Tokyo declaration will become the basis of arguments at the United Nations General Assembly on Implementation of Agenda 21 scheduled for June. “The developed world must agree to realistic and achievable ‘legally binding’ targets for greenhouse gas emissions,” Gore said. “At the same time, we must take care to develop targets that put us on a more sustainable energy path without sacrificing continued economic growth and development.”