• Kyodo

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A European Union delegation will visit Japan on either July 6 or 9 in an effort to save the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on global warming, EU diplomatic sources said Wednesday.

The schedule is tentative, but those two days are the only ones on which the EU mission can visit Japan and Australia, who are traditionally allies of the United States on climate change, the sources said.

EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom and representatives from Sweden and Belgium will be included in the delegation.

The representatives will be decided Thursday, the sources said.

Belgium will take over the six-month rotating EU presidency from Sweden on July 1.

The mission is aimed at obtaining commitments from the two countries to ratify the international accord on curbing global warming.

EU leaders agreed on the mission during summit talks last week.

The EU is concerned about the possibility that Japan and Australia will follow the United States in rejecting the pact, which legally requires developed countries to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases.

In the leadup to the resumed U.N. climate-change talks in Bonn, Germany, scheduled to open in mid-July, the EU is trying to garner support from U.S. allies as they are pivotal to bringing the pact into force by next year.

The Kyoto pact will take effect with ratification by at least 55 parties, which must include developed countries representing at least 55 percent of the total 1990 carbon dioxide emissions from the group.

Since the United States, the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, has announced its rejection of the agreement, the EU is aiming for ratification of the treaty even without the U.S., and other big emitters, including Japan and Russia, have become crucial to salvaging the accord.

Japan has not clarified whether it will ratify the treaty if the U.S. stays out of the framework, while Australia has expressed a negative view on ratifying the pact without the U.S.

The EU sent a delegation to Japan, Russia, China and Iran in April to discuss the repercussions of U.S. President George W. Bush’s announcement that America would pull out of the international environment agreement.

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