Staff writerWith little more than a month to go before a major U.N. conference in Kyoto on climate change, a leading American environmentalist is urging Japan to come up with new proposals to solve existing conflicts among developed nations and guide the global community.”Ultimately, it is essential to have an agreement that goes far beyond anything that will be discussed in Kyoto,” Jonathan Lash, president of World Resources Institute, said in an interview in Tokyo. However, he said, the conference will be a turning point to mark a “very significant change of direction,” in which wealthy nations will agree, for the first time, to limit their use of resources.Lash, here to attend a series of symposiums on global warming and other environmental issues, said Japan must seek to ensure that the global community make the right decision, despite existing huge gaps between member nations. “That would mean being prepared to make proposals that will solve the differences between the United States and the European Union, even if they are different from Japan’s initial proposals,” he said.The European Union is calling for a 15 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2010 compared with 1990 levels, while Japan is proposing a maximum 5 percent cut by 2012. The U.S. was set to unveil its proposal Oct. 22 in Washington, most likely calling for industrialized nations to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by around 2010.Lash said he agrees with none of the three proposals, although he welcomes the “significant commitment” pledged by the largest economies in the EU, namely, Germany and Britain.The protocol that comes out of Kyoto should not have the disparities seen in the current proposals, he said. “Essentially, we are moving toward an agreement that will not have a great deal of differentiations among nations.”Meanwhile, as to the handling of developing nations, Lash said there should be an agreement, not reduction obligations, to set up a negotiation process to lead to an accord with developing countries to limit their emissions in the future. “The problems that exist now are almost entirely attributable to the actions of developed countries, and the role of developing nations has been very small,” he said, adding that it is only appropriate that developed nations first commit to reductions.But in the future, he said, problems cannot be solved by developed nations alone and there needs to be some agreement to limit emissions by developing countries. “We need their agreement to solve the problem, but it would be immoral to ask them not to develop,” he said. “There has to be an agreement to assist them to find a technological means of development without increasing emissions.”
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