The industry minister suggested Tuesday that Japan will strive to convince the United States to rejoin the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, even going as far as considering revamping the international effort to fight global warming.
“It is most important that we realize a framework in which Japan, the European Union and the U.S. all participate,” Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Takeo Hiranuma told reporters after the U.S. on Monday rejected the protocol as “fatally flawed.”
“As the host of a U.N. conference in Kyoto, we place primary importance on the Kyoto Protocol, but the world is always moving. I think we need to have some flexibility to reach an agreement,” Hiranuma said.
On Monday, U.S. President George W. Bush rejected the 1997 pact, which imposed mandatory limits on emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, saying compliance with the mandates would have adverse effects on the U.S. economy.
Instead, Bush called for an alternative requiring the participation of developing countries and more scientific-based solutions.
Hiranuma refrained from welcoming wholeheartedly a new proposal made by Dutch Environment Minister Jan Pronk, who chairs U.N. climate-change talks, and pointed instead to the fact that it failed to address the issue of participation by developing countries, in line with the U.S. stance.
At the moment, he is not considering ratifying the pact without U.S. participation, Hiranuma said, while European countries and Russia have suggested they aim to have the Kyoto Protocol take effect even without the involvement of the U.S.
Bush announced the U.S. pullout in March from the treaty, which requires ratification by at least 55 states. These must include industrial states, whose combined carbon dioxide emissions account for 55 percent of total emissions from the industrial world.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.