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Japan’s recent proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2010 is a “joke” that will result in too little being done too late, a representative of the World Wide Fund for Nature said during a luncheon Oct. 3 at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.With less than two months to go until Japan hosts the Third Conference of Parties to the Convention on Climate Change, a more aggressive goal is necessary, said Andrew Kerr, European coordinator for the WWF Climate Change Campaign. “Anything less than, let’s say, 10 percent by 2005 is probably going to be deemed as a failure because it simply won’t send a signal to investors; it won’t send a signal to other governments,” he said.It is important to maintain political momentum and set simple, realistic targets for 2005 because complicated criteria cannot be worked out prior to the December gathering in Kyoto, Kerr said. The European Union has proposed a 15 percent reduction by 2010, to the chagrin of both Japan and the United States.Japan is the fourth highest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world and has been criticized for its lack of leadership and tardy proposals. Kerr attributes some nations’ passive postures to fears that aggressive goals will cripple their economies, but “if they introduce sensible policies and measures, we don’t think there will be major impacts on competitiveness or on economic performance,” he said.Reducing emissions, rather, is an opportunity to revamp the nation for a more energy-efficient future and to consider unexplored means of reducing emissions without damaging the economy, Kerr said. Such progressive results would be in a nation’s best interest, he added.According to a preliminary report released by WWF Japan last month, Japan is capable of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 8.8 percent in 2005, and 14.8 percent in 2010, based on 1990 levels. The final version of the report is due to be released at the end of this month.

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