Environment Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi on Friday criticized a new proposal to pave the way for key climate change talks in July, saying it is little different from its predecessor and will not help bring the United States back to the negotiating table.
“For Japan, it seems a very severe proposal, especially the part on sinks. I think it is a big problem,” she told a regular news conference in response to the latest paper hammered out by her Dutch counterpart, Jan Pronk, who heads COP6, the sixth Conference of Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Sinks are forests and other carbon dioxide absorbing ecosystems that Japan and other countries are vying to use to offset global warming. The new proposal, released Thursday, places a cap on credits attainable from forestry activities undertaken abroad, and allowing nations to use sinks credits to comprise up to 50 percent of their emissions reductions targets — amounting to 3 percent for Japan and 3.5 percent for the U.S.
The use of sinks is a key issue in the debate surrounding the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. In the original “Pronk Paper,” sinks credits were capped at 3 percent across the board for all countries.
“I have my doubts about whether this is the right step to take for someone trying to pull the talks together,” Kawaguchi said Friday.
Rather than drawing the U.S. back into Kyoto Protocol negotiations, which President George W. Bush suddenly abandoned in mid-March, it could push them away from the accord, she said
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