Hatoyama readies CO 2 pitch for U.N.

Kyodo News

In an address at the United Nations this week, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama will officially pledge that Japan will drastically cut its greenhouse gas emissions while promising vigorous support for developing countries in climate technology and funding.

The enhanced support for developing economies under the tentatively named “Hatoyama Initiative” is aimed at ensuring a leading role for Japan in discussions on an international framework for curbing emissions from 2013 that will succeed the Kyoto Protocol, a government official said over the weekend.

The initiative centers on extending Japan’s technological knowhow on energy conservation. But Hatoyama may fall short of pledging how much Japan will commit financially to developing countries because the amount required will likely be substantial and where it will come from is very much an open question.

On Sept. 7, before Hatoyama became prime minister, he unveiled in a Tokyo speech his plan for Japan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 — a far more ambitious goal than the one set by his predecessor, Taro Aso.

Hatoyama will lay out his plan Tuesday in New York in a speech at a U.N. summit on climate change, putting it forward as an “international pledge” before other world leaders.

While Hatoyama’s emissions target will likely receive high marks from the United Nations and European countries, the government will face a serious challenge in working out the specifics.

In the U.N. address, Hatoyama is expected to say Japan “will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the world by actively providing various countries” with Japan’s conservation technology in energy-efficient power generation, biofuels and fuel-efficient cars, among other areas.

Hatoyama will also indicate that Japan will direct more investment resources to research and development to maintain its edge in energy-conservation technology.

He will take note of the rapidly progressing impact of global warming in various parts of the world and say, “Global warming is a threat to the whole of humanity and we cannot afford to delay further” in taking countermeasures, the Japanese official said.

“Developing countries are more seriously impacted” by frequent droughts and other phenomena, Hatoyama will say, and declare that industrial nations have a responsibility and obligation to take the lead in reducing greenhouse gases, according to the official.

On formulating a new international framework for climate change, Hatoyama will make strong pitches to the United States and China, the world’s two biggest polluters, and India to join in the effort, saying that participation by all countries, including emerging economies, is essential.

Japan is touted as leading rich countries in energy efficiency and in maintaining cutting-edge technology on a broad range of areas from solar and wind power generation to home electronics.

This is thanks to investments in technological developments by both the government and business to reduce reliance on fossil fuels in the wake of oil crises decades ago.