16 july 2001
progress at uk climate talks
On a TV talkshow yesterday, Japanís Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi suggested that
countries would not agree on operational
rules to implement the Kyoto treaty until
late October. Negotiations have been in a
state of crisis since US President Bush
abandoned the treaty in March.
While almost all other industrialised
countries have expressed their intention to
ratify the treaty without the US, Japanís
ambiguous position has enabled it to exploit
the casting vote, thereby jeopardising ten
years of tough negotiations. In order for
Kyoto to enter into force, countries
representing 55% of industrialised countriesí
emissions must ratify the treaty.
When Prime Minister Koizumi met the US
president at Camp David last month, he
insisted that Japan would keep trying to
convince the US to reverse its position.
However, at the first meeting of the newly
established US-Japan climate bilateral held
on 13 July, the US administration reiterated
unequivocally that it has no intention to
ëPrime Minister Koizumiís position is a
dangerous contradiction. He says Japan will
uphold its commitment to entry into force of
the Protocol by 2002 while delaying agreement
by trying to get President Bush to abandon
his unequivocal opposition to the treaty.
Parties must not be distracted by Bushís
attempts to scupper the Protocol. Unless the
Japanese government now states its intention
ratify the treaty without the US, the chance
for meaningful international action on
climate change could be lost and blame will
lie squarely with Japan,í says Kate Hampton
of Friends of the Earth International.
ëThe Japanese premier fails to grasp the
urgency of this issue. In the upcoming
elections, he hopes the Japanese people will
trust him to tackle the difficult challenges
the nation faces today, particularly economic
reform. But if he cannot face up to climate
change, how can we trust him on other issues?
The Kyoto treaty is a small first step to
reduce our climate impact. The Prime Minister
must clarify the doubt on his commitment
right nowí says Yuri Onodera, Friends of the
Friends of the Earth members in Finland
have today staged a demonstration in front of
the Japanese embassy in Helsinki.
Demonstrators carrying banners in English,
Japanese and Finnish urge Japan to ratify the
Kyoto Protocol without the US. ëThe fate of
the Kyoto Protocol now lies in the hands of
Japan. Koizumi must act now and save the
Kyoto,í says Oras Tynkkynen, Friends of the
The resumed UN climate talks started today
in Bonn, Germany.
Contacts in Bonn:
Kate Hampton, Friends of the Earth
Yuri Onodera, Friends of the Earth Japan,
Oras Tynkkynen, Friends of the Earth