Since the Bush administration forwarded its plans to tackle the problem of global warming on June 11, in which it stated the Kyoto Protocol was fatally flawed, there has been increasing voice in Japan for its government to try to effectuate the Protocol with European Union (EU) countries, and without participation of the United States.
The informal ministerial meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) is scheduled in late June, and the resumed session of the COP6, in late July. These meetings provide crucial opportunities for the parties to agree on a unique international framework for solving the deteriorating problem of global warming and on the ways to achieve it, based on the ideals expressed in the Protocol. If the developed countries should again fail to reach an agreement in the coming negotiations, they will lose effective measures against global warming, as well as their responsibility for future generations.
It is most necessary at this moment, from the above-mentioned point of view, that developed countries agree on an international framework of environmental integrity with the measures to achieve it, and make efforts for its earliest possible effectuation. This framework must be created in a manner that allows developing countries to join in the future. Considering that calm negotiations and solid enforcement of emission reduction are the most important, Keidanren strongly urges the government, the industries and the public of Japan to take the following actions.
A framework without US participation, whose carbon dioxide emissions amount a quarter of the total, would not be effective in combating global warming. In addition, if the US rejects the framework, developing nations could use this as an excuse for neglecting their efforts in future. Keidanren asks the Japanese government to continue its efforts to establish a practical international framework involving the United States.
While the Kyoto Protocol contains numerical targets, the ways to achieve them have yet to be decided. The government of Japan should endeavor to realize a unique international agreement of environmental integrity, by persuading European partners of the importance of market mechanisms and SINK, and the US of the necessity of quantitative targets.
Keidanren has made efforts to carry out the measures included in its Voluntary Action Plan on Global Warming, and has reviewed the results every year. Industries must do their best to achieve their own targets, regardless of the status of the intergovernmental talks. Industries in the service and transportation sectors, whose emissions of greenhouse gas is rapidly increasing, need to control emissions by their own efforts. Also we are ready to make our utmost effort to utilize market mechanisms such as international emission trading.
There is a movement among the public to urge the government to ratify the Kyoto protocol without participation of the United States. However, it would not be enough for considering truly effective measures against global warming. The series of international meetings, which will start in late June, are supposed to be a watershed in the long lasting negotiations, and substantial results will be expected.
Therefore, people should be calm and continue to give full support to the Japanese government until substantial results are obtained through patient negotiations. If people should ask the government for premature political decision-making, it will hinder the effective enforcement of measures against global warming, and work against preservation of the global environment. Individual citizens must also think of changes they can make in their daily lives, and take concrete actions that will counter global warming.