NEW YORK — Many participants in the special session of the General Assembly here have expressed disappointment with Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto’s statement on the environment.
Hashimoto told the special session that Japan will do its utmost to ensure that December’s conference on climate change in Kyoto is a success. However, he did not specify targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.
“He did not tell us specific reduction targets. This might have been a good occasion to show his leadership as the head of the host country of the Kyoto conference,” said Hye-Sook Park, a member of a Japanese environmental group.
Meanwhile, Steve Curwood, a producer from National Public Radio in the U.S., said he is uncertain about Japan’s stance on the environment. “It seems that Japan is so sensitive about the U.S. move. Since the U.S. is reluctant of setting specific targets, Japan does not want to antagonize the U.S.,” he said.
European leaders stressed the importance of industrialized countries committing themselves to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by setting specified targets. The EU has decided to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 15 percent by 2010.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair won big applause when he announced that Britain will go further than the EU’s commitment to a 20 percent reduction. “Some other countries cannot say the same, including some of the great industrialized nations. To them I say this: our targets will not be taken seriously by the poorer countries until the richer countries are meeting them.”