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Wednesday, Nov. 12, 1997

Keidanren exec backs long-term emissions goal

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Staff writer

The upcoming COP3 summit on global warming should include two commitments to curbing greenhouse gas emissions -- long-term targets and the participation of developing countries -- according to a member of the nation's most powerful business group.

The summit is intended to follow up on earlier international commitments to cut emissions below 1990 levels by 2010. "(But) the problem of carbon dioxide will not end at 2010," said Tokio Kanoh, chairman of Keidanren's subcommittee on global environment. "That's only the deadline for taking the first step ... (Nations) have to set up long-term targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions even if they cannot make the targets very strict."

He called on the United States to commit itself to more drastic cuts. Currently, Washington is calling for 1990-level emissions to be merely stabilized by 2012. Kanoh also said developing nations should ponder voluntary programs to reduce greenhouse gases. "We all must make efforts," he said, "since we are all in the same boat, the Earth."

In other proposals, Europe is calling on developed nations to implement strict 15 percent cuts by 2012, while Japan is pushing for industrialized nations to cut 1990-level emissions by 5 percent. Tokyo's proposal, however, allows flexibility so each country would actually be bound to cuts between 5 percent and zero percent.

The gulf between the European proposal and those of the U.S. and Japan was apparent during the weekend when the environment ministers of the countries participating in the Third Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP3) gathered in Tokyo; they failed to produce any specific targets.

Kanoh supports Japan's idea of differentiating the targets, arguing that it is ineffective to set up a common target for all nations because the amount of carbon dioxide emissions each nation produces varies.

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The Japan Times

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