Ratify Kyoto Protocol now and urge the U.S. to follow -- Akahata editorial, June 29, 2001

Japan is drawing attention because its response to the COP3 Kyoto Protocol, which calls for regulatory steps against global warming, will have decisive influence toward its implementation.

The Kyoto Protocol will take effect after ratification by industrialized countries, especially by those emitting a great deal of exhaust gasses.

Japan holds key to the success

The announcement of the U.S. Bush administration that it withdraws from the Kyoto Protocol to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, though the U.S. is the largest gas emission country, generated worldwide opposition demanding, "Save the Kyoto Protocol."

EU countries, Russia, East European countries, and Canada have already announced that they will ratify the protocol, while the U.S. alone is opposing it.

If Japan, the third largest gas emission country next to the U.S. and Russia, ratifies it, the protocol will come into effect even without the U.S.

This means that Japan's action is decisive in invoking the protocol.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo proposed that the Japanese government "announce its willingness to immediately ratify the Kyoto Protocol."

The Kyoto Protocol, adopted at the 1997 Kyoto meeting on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, urges industrialized countries to reduce gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, with a target of cutback to be accomplished during 2008-2012; to this end, all industrialized countries must reduce emissions by 5% in comparison with the 1990 level, including Japan by 6%, the U.S. by 7%, and EU by 8%.

At a U.S. request, the Kyoto Protocol incorporated a method of trade in emission limits that undermines the reduction targets. Notwithstanding this, the protocol still is significant in taking effective steps for cuts in emissions of greenhouse gasses.

Japan, which as the host and chair of the COP3 Kyoto Protocol, has a special responsibility.

The government in line with the unanimous Diet resolution should ratify the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible and show its leadership in the international community so that the Protocol will come into effect in 2002.

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report said that in 2100 the average temperature in the world will rise by 1.4 to 5.8 degrees and the sea level will also rise by 9 to 88 centimeters.

It also pointed out the strong possibility that the global warming in the last 50 years was mostly due to the increased emission of greenhouse gases as a result of human activities.

At a time when the control of the greenhouse gas emissions is urgently needed, the U.S. declared that it will secede from the Kyoto Protocol, turning its back on the emergency call for the protection of the global environment. The U.S. decision is an act of treason against the world's future.

The U.S. is emitting 36 percent of the total greenhouse gases emitted by the world's industrial nations. It must be fully aware of its responsibility for the Kyoto Protocol to come into effect.

Japan should state its faithfulness to the Protocol

In the Japan-U.S. summit talks, P.M. Koizumi should make clear that Japan is ready to ratify the Kyoto Protocol without waiting for the U.S. to do so. This is important as a first step in its effort to persuade the U.S. If P.M. Koizumi shows Japan's determination to ensure that the Protocol comes into effect, he will be able to strongly influence President Bush.

Japan must take a resolute attitude toward the U.S. on this matter. Otherwise, the world's people will think that only Japan and the U.S. are interfering with the international efforts to get the Protocol to take effect. Japan will be exposed to international criticism and cause irreparable disadvantage in its foreign relations.

P.M. Koizumi should state clearly that Japan will ratify the Kyoto Protocol and persuade President Bush to do the same. (end)