• Kyodo

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The United States snubbed a request Thursday from a Japanese delegation of government and ruling coalition officials for Washington to remain committed to the landmark 1997 Kyoto Protocol on curbing global warming.

The delegation made the appeal in a meeting with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Whitman, Japanese officials said.

Senior Vice Foreign Minister Kiyohiro Araki, who is leading the delegation, told Whitman that Japan wants the U.S. to continue to cooperate in global efforts to enforce the treaty.

Whitman, as expected, rejected the Japanese demand and repeated President George W. Bush’s recent comments opposing the pact, which was signed in 1997 in Kyoto to expedite international efforts to reduce heat-trapping gases.

Bush suggested recently that Washington will pull out of the treaty, which requires the world’s industrialized countries to impose binding limits on emissions of carbon dioxide.

Bush said the Kyoto Protocol exempts 80 percent of the world from compliance and would cause serious harm to the U.S. economy.

Whitman told the Japanese mission that the U.S. is considering formulating a different approach to cope with global warming, saying Cabinet secretaries are reviewing the U.S. policy on climate change.

The U.S. wants to come up with a certain proposal by July when talks on global warming are set to take place in Bonn, Whitman was quoted as saying.

The Bonn talks will be preceded by a preparatory meeting in New York on April 20 and 21.

Japanese delegates asked Whitman to attend the New York meeting so she can discuss the matter further with Environment Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, but Whitman only said that she would consider it.

Under the Kyoto pact, the U.S. would have to reduce its pollutant emissions by 7 percent from 1990 levels by 2012.

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