(AFP) – Jan 20, 2008
TOKYO (AFP) — Japan will propose setting 2000 as the reference year for future greenhouse gas emission cuts in a bid to bring more countries aboard a post-Kyoto Protocol deal, a report said Monday.
The Kyoto Protocol requires major developed nations to slash emissions causing global warming by an average of five percent from 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.
Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will propose in a speech Saturday at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland to switch the base year for cuts to 2000 for after Kyoto's current obligations expire, Kyodo News reported.
Officials declined immediate comment on the report, which quoted unnamed government sources.
Kyodo News said Japan hoped the 2000 base would lower hurdles for fast-growing China and India, which have no obligations under the Kyoto Protocol and whose emissions shot up between 1990 and 2000.
But such a shift would likely encounter opposition from the European Union, the only major region whose emissions have gone down since 1990.
While the Europeans champion the Kyoto Protocol, critics point out that the 1990 base year is advantageous to Europe as some EU nations were then heavily polluting members of the Soviet bloc.
The United States is the only major country to reject the Kyoto Protocol, arguing that it is unfair by making no demands of emerging economies and that the 1990 base year is skewed.
Japan is the home of the Kyoto Protocol and hopes to use its presidency of the Group of Eight major economies this year to push forward action on climate change.
But Japan is also far behind in meeting its obligations as its economy enjoys a steady recovery from recession in the 1990s.
Environmentalists lashed out at Japan last month at a UN conference in Bali for joining the United States in opposing a specific goal in slashing emissions after 2012.
News reports have previously said that Fukuda would use the World Economic Forum, a annual get-together of policymakers and intellectuals, to announce Japan's own targets to cut emissions after 2012.
The European Union has unilaterally set a goal of slashing carbon emissions by 20 to 30 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels and has offered to go further if other major economies join the effort.
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