Japan to lead climate debate | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 02, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 02, 2008

Japan to lead climate debate

Japan took over the presidency of the Group of Eight club of the world's leading economies yesterday, with Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda vowing to put a focus on climate change and environmental issues.
The world's second biggest economy after the United States, Japan is also the home of the Kyoto Protocol, the landmark 1997 treaty that really launched the fight against global warming.
So when leaders of the rich club convene for a summit in July in Toyako, a northern resort in the Japanese island of Hokkaido, it will be with climate change on their mind.
"Environmental issues will be a big agenda" item at the summit, Fukuda said in a New Year statement.
"Japan hopes to lead the worldwide discussions in order to hand over clean skies to our children."
It has announced four main issues for the summit: environment and climate change; the world economy; development and Africa; and broad political issues such as nuclear non-proliferation and the fight against terrorism.
Apart from Japan and outgoing president Germany, the G8 club is made up of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the United States.
China is not a member but habitually gets invited.
Fukuda plans a "global climate change" summit immediately before the Group of Eight leaders meet and has reportedly invited the leaders of China, India, South Korea and Indonesia.
Last week, Fukuda vowed to use Japan's presidency to promote eco-friendly technology, saying "we must promote our technologies to the rest of the world. That should benefit Japan and the rest of the world."
Japan has proposed a goal of cutting global emissions by half by 2050 from what they were in 1990.
But Tokyo is far behind on its own Kyoto obligations to slash emissions by six percent by 2012 as its economy recovers from a recession in the 1990s.
Fukuda, who returned Monday from his first four-day trip to China as prime minister, signed an agreement which would see Tokyo help Beijing -- one of the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitters -- work to combat global warming.

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