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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 December 10 - 16  > Japan is in danger of isolation over the issue of climate change
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2008 December 10 - 16 [ENVIRONMENT]

Japan is in danger of isolation over the issue of climate change

December 14, 2008
The 14th meeting of the United Nations Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP14) held in Poznan, Poland, ended on December 13 without reaching concrete agreements on a new framework that would replace the Kyoto Protocol after it expires in 2012.

The meeting only reiterated the conclusion of last year’s COP 13 in Bali and failed to reach a practical agreement that includes setting targets for greenhouse gas emission cuts.

The failure is due to a lack of effective political leadership. In the meeting, many speakers pointed that that efforts of developing countries alone are not enough to make progress in the negotiations and that it is essential for developed countries to play a leading role.”

In the meeting, the European Union, that has led developed nations, did not display a strong presence. The U.S. did not have a clear stance as it is changing to a new administration led by Barack Obama. Under this circumstance, Japan, Canada, and Australia appeared as harmful players among developed nations.

The meeting decided to start preparations for the 15th meeting held in Copenhagen at the end of 2009. The paper for the next meeting will be drafted in March and submitted for negotiations in July.

The Japanese government has just set up a commission for discussing the mid-term target of greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2020. This raised a question whether Japan can manage to set the target before international negotiations start.

The Japanese government also insisted on introducing a “sector-specific approach” and obliging developing countries to set targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by classifying them in different groups.

In the COP14 ministerial meeting, many countries diplomatically criticized the Japanese government.

The Japanese government has evaded its responsibility by blaming other countries, saying, “The agreement without the U.S. is meaningless. China should share the responsibility.” U.S. President-elect Obama expressed an intention for policy change and China received a kind of appreciation for its effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If the Japanese government refuses to change its position, it will be completely isolated.
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