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Staff writerWith a key environmental conference slated to kick off in Buenos Aires on Monday, Tokyo has launched a behind-the-scenes diplomatic effort to rally support for official development assistance to play a role in implementing the “clean development mechanism” to combat global warming.The Japanese government is distributing a paper containing “talking points” of the ODA issue to some of the other signatory nations to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, an international treaty signed at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro six years ago.”All available resources should be utilized in the most effective ways to contribute to (the prevention of global warming),” says the paper, a copy of which was obtained Friday by The Japan Times.”Public funds, including ODA, are beneficial to developing countries because of their concessionary quality, even though they cannot play a central role in comparison with private funds, because of their scarcity,” the paper says.”ODA is necessary for implementing worthwhile projects (that are) not profitable on a commercial basis as well as for securing ‘equity’ among regions, including Africa, in implementing projects,” it continues.At their third meeting, COP3, in Kyoto last December, the more than 150 convention signatory countries adopted a landmark protocol that sets legally binding targets for industrialized countries that require them to slash the total volume of their greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2 percent from 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.The Kyoto Protocol specifically required emissions reductions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases widely blamed for global warming. The required cuts are 6 percent by Japan, 7 percent by the United States and 8 percent by the 15-member European Union.The signatory countries to the 1992 U.N. convention also agreed in Kyoto to introduce the clean development mechanism, as well as emissions trading and joint implementation mechanisms, to assist industrialized countries’ domestic efforts to achieve their respective reduction targets.But details of the three mechanisms were not worked out. This task is expected to be high on the agenda at COP4 — the fourth meeting of the U.N. convention signatory countries from Monday to Nov. 13 in Buenos Aires — along with the contentious question of whether developing countries also should commit themselves to fight global warming.

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