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Japan and the United States will begin expert-level environmental talks in September aimed primarily at boosting cooperation in the development of technologies needed to better forecast and prevent global warming, government sources said Friday.

The talks will come about two months after Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and U.S. President George W. Bush agreed at Camp David, Md., to jointly develop such technologies while addressing other issues related to global warming, a heat-trapping phenomenon widely believed to be caused by emissions of carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gases.

The talks will be conducted separately by three working groups, the sources said. Each group will be jointly headed by deputy bureau chief-level officials from each country, they added.

One group will work to develop technologies that can better forecast climate change and prevent global warming, the sources said.

The second working group will deal with ways to reduce greenhouse gas-emissions through market mechanisms, including the so-called emissions trading scheme. The third group will discuss technological assistance programs for developing countries to help slash their greenhouse gas emissions.

Among the Japanese participants in the expert-level talks will be officials from the Environment Ministry, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Foreign Ministry and the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry.

At their Camp David meeting on June 30, Koizumi and Bush also agreed to launch a ministerial-level forum for consultations related to the 1997 Kyoto protocol on curbing global warming.

Japan and the U.S., which held their first ministerial-level forum in Washington in July, are preparing to hold the second forum meeting in the U.S. at a still-undetermined place at the end of September or at the beginning of October, the sources said.

The Kyoto Protocol, adopted at the third Conference of Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP3, in Kyoto in 1997, sets legally-binding targets for industrialized countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2 percent between 2008 and 2012 from their 1990 levels. It obliges Japan to curtail its emissions by 6 percent, the U.S. by 7 percent, and the 15-nation European Union by 8 percent.

But in a move that sparked an international outcry, the U.S. administration of Republican President Bush announced in spring that it will withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol. The Bush administration criticized the environmental pact as “fatally flawed,” claiming it would hurt U.S. economic growth.

Among its reasons for rejecting the protocol, the Bush administration even cited a lack of solid evidence of global warming.

“Japan does not necessary agree with the U.S. view that there is no sufficient evidence of global warming,” a senior Japanese government official said. “But cooperation in the development of technologies needed to better forecast and prevent such a phenomenon itself is a good thing.

“We will promote such cooperation with the U.S., regardless of that country’s attitude toward the Kyoto Protocol,” the official said, requesting anonymity.

At the resumed COP6 in Bonn in July, signatory countries to the U.N. framework convention reached a long-awaited agreement on some complex mechanisms for helping industrialized countries to reduce their gas emissions. But adoption of a text containing these agreements was put off until COP7, which is to start at the end of October in Marrakesh, Morocco.

The Bonn agreement paved the way for industrialized countries other than the U.S. to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and put it into place, possibly by the end of next year.

The EU has said it would seek to have the protocol put into place by the end of next year. Japan, however, has said it will wait for the adoption of a final treaty text on agreements reached in Bonn before deciding whether to ratify the protocol.

Japan has said it will continue to try to persuade the U.S. to reverse its decision to withdraw from the pact.

While the Bush administration has said it will come up with an alternative proposal to the protocol before COP7 in Marrakesh, it remains uncertain if any such proposal will be made before then.

The Kyoto Protocol is expected to be discussed again by Koizumi and Bush when the U.S. president visits Tokyo in mid-October on his way to Shanghai, where he will attend the annual summit of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

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