It will be much appreciated if you could click the following banner.
Thaning you in anticipation.

FC2Blog Ranking

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 29, 2009)
U.S., China could lead way to post-Kyoto deal
CO2削減 米中の目標公表で弾みつくか(11月29日付・読売社説)

The United States and China, the world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gas, have recently announced their medium-term targets for CO2 emission reductions. We hope their commitments will add momentum to the drafting of a fair framework to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which expires at the end of 2012.

The United States has set itself a target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. The U.S. targets also include a 30 percent reduction by 2025, 42 percent by 2030 and 83 percent by 2050.

However, a 17 percent cut from 2005 levels actually represents a reduction of just a few percent from 1990 levels. This contrasts sharply with the target set by the administration of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, which aims to curb this nation's emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels.

The U.S. targets are very realistic, as restoring the economy is currently Washington's top priority.


China emissions could grow

Meanwhile, China, which has recently surpassed the United States to become the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, has announced it will reduce carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 40 percent to 45 percent compared with 2005 levels by 2020.

The Chinese target of cutting emissions per unit of GDP is different from those adopted by Japan and the United States, which aim for reductions in total emissions volume. Under this approach, China would be allowed to emit more CO2 if its GDP grows.

China is apparently trying to trumpet to the world its contribution to tackling greenhouse gas reduction without damaging its economic growth. It also has stressed that cutting greenhouse gas emissions is a "voluntary action based on our own national situation."

This indicates that Beijing is wary of entering into internationally binding deals on emissions reductions.


COP15 nations divided

The 15th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Climate Change Convention (COP15) will start in Copenhagen on Dec. 7. The U.S. and Chinese announcements of midterm targets is undoubtedly one step forward in the lead-up to COP15 discussions that will focus on a post-Kyoto Protocol international framework to be followed from 2013.

In reality, however, there is still a gulf of opinion between major industrialized countries and developing countries on how to tackle climate change. It already appears almost impossible for a post-Kyoto Protocol framework to be adopted in the Danish capital in December. The focus of attention has already shifted to whether the COP15 nations can reach a major political agreement that could lead to the adoption of a new protocol next year.

Moves by the United States and China hold the key to the success of the talks.

There is concern that some developing countries are leaning toward a possible extension of the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012. The Kyoto Protocol lacks teeth as the United States has withdrawn from it and China, as a developing country, is not obliged to cut its emissions under the pact.

Hatoyama has made an international pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent without seeking the backing of the Japanese public. As a precondition for committing the nation to this target, however, he has stated that all major nations must sign on to a post-Kyoto Protocol framework.

Japan must steadfastly maintain this condition at the upcoming COP15 talks.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 29, 2009)
(2009年11月29日01時13分 読売新聞)