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Friday, April 18, 2008

Industry chiefs to G8: Forge fair emissions goals


By KANAKO TAKAHARA and SHINICHI TERADA
Staff writers

Business leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized nations called on G8 member nations Thursday to create a post-Kyoto Protocol framework that is fair and impartial to all major emitters.

News photo
Panelists discuss ways to fight global warming at the G8 Business Summit in Tokyo on Thursday. SATOKO KAWASAKI PHOTO

Following a one-day meeting in Tokyo, the business federation chiefs issued a joint statement urging the G8 nations to come up with measures that will encourage developing countries to participate in the framework to succeed Kyoto.

"We hope there will be a forward-looking agreement on such points," said Fujio Mitarai, chief of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) and chairman and CEO of Canon Inc.

Mitarai also said the business chiefs briefly discussed the sectoral approach Japan proposed that has so far only received mixed reactions.

Akio Mimura, chairman of Nippon Steel Corp. and vice chairman of Keidanren, said during a panel discussion at the meeting: "The promotion of the sectoral approach should be agreed on at the Lake Toya summit."

Under the sectoral approach, industries that produce high levels of greenhouse gases, including steel, electricity generation and oil refining, would aim to cut emissions by using the best available energy-saving technology following national targets.

"We agreed that there should be further understanding and agreement on the sectoral approach Japan is pushing," Mitarai said.

The joint statement further said G8 members should push for further development of low-carbon technology and remove trade barriers to environmental goods and services.

The business chiefs were expected later in the day to hand over to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda the joint statement and exchange opinions.

At the start of the meeting, Fukuda urged the business leaders to join with governments to fight climate change and craft a post-Kyoto Protocol framework.

Fukuda said cooperation from the business world is one of the keys to combating global warming.

"To promote a low-carbon (emission) society, close cooperation between the public and private sectors will be vital," Fukuda said. "The industrial sector must not forget that it is the main emitter of greenhouse gases."

This year's G8 summit will be held at Hokkaido's Lake Toya resort from July 7 to 9. The G8 groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany Italy, Japan, the U.S. and Russia.

Japan is eager to take the lead at the summit in dealing with climate change, which will top the agenda.

Japan hopes the summit gives direction to negotiations on drafting the next global treaty on fighting climate change by the end of 2009.

Industrialized countries want a new international framework on reducing greenhouse gas emissions for all major polluters, including China and India, but these developing countries remain reluctant to adopt strict targets for curbing carbon dioxide emissions because such action would stunt their economic growth.

Gist of G8 business chiefs' statement

Following is the gist of a joint statement issued Thursday by business leaders from the Group of Eight countries after their one-day meeting in Tokyo:

The G8 business leaders:

Urge their governments to reach a proactive consensus on dealing with climate change, including sectoral approaches.

Pledge to voluntarily cooperate with work on sectoral approaches.

Call for a post-Kyoto Protocol framework that includes all major greenhouse gas emitters.

Ask for a balance between the environment, energy security and economic growth.

Ask their governments to closely cooperate to help stabilize the world economy and scrutinize foreign-exchange markets.

Call for a political decision by their governments for the conclusion of the Doha Round trade liberalization negotiations under the World Trade Organization.



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The Japan Times

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