Deadlock at Climate meeting as Japan Opposes Kyoto Protocol

Issues revolving around the Kyoto Protocol – its implementation and Japan’s opposition to its extention – have caused a deadlock at the Cancun climate change meeting in Mexico.

The Kyoto Protocol is the only legally binding treaty in the world that commits most of the developed countries in the world to make emission cuts. It is an agreement that was designed to fight global warming by reducing greenhouse emissions.  The Kyoto protocol was created after the third Conference of the Parties in Kyoto that was held in December 1997.

Jun Arima (center) announced that Japan opposes the extension of Kyoto Protocol

The Protocol went into effect in February 2005, after the required threshold of ratification was finally achieved. This means that at least 55 nations representing about 55 percent of the 1990 carbon emissions are bonded by the document.

The protocol commits industrialized countries to cutting down on greenhouse emissions. The Protocol puts greater responsibility on industrially developed nations, recognizing that developed countries are primarily responsible for the high levels of greenhouse gas emissions today, due to the previous 150 years of significant industrial activity.

Different nations participating in the protocol have different targets. Most European countries are obliged to reduce their emissions to eight percent below their 1990 levels.

Last year’s conference in Copenhagen did not arrive at a conclusion as per the emission quota of developed and developing countries.  Many developed countries and emerging economies disagreed on who should get a bigger quota in cutting down carbon emission; and which countries should invest more money in environmental protection.

But the major obstacle to finding a global solution to this disagreement now seems to lie with Japan’s refusal to remain within the bounds of the Kyoto Protocol. 

Jun Arima, an official in the Japanese government’s economics trade and industry department, in an open session, said “Japan will not inscribe its target under the Kyoto protocol on any conditions or under any circumstances,” reported EC Dialogue.    

The controversial statement from Japan raised a lot of questions from negotiators at the conference.  Many of them claimed that opposing the extension of the protocol is not very constructive, and will have a negative effect on the outcome of the conference.

Brazilian ambassador for Climate Change Sergio Serra said that Japans decision will definitely have an effect on the outcome. He also pointed out that Japan’s point of view on the issue could be a major obstacle unless Japan agrees to at least compromise, according to China Daily. “There is no way to move forward if we don’t have the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol,” he further told reporters.

As at now, uncertainties still loom with few more days to the end of the conference. However, the United States and China are making frantic efforts at finding a solution to this deadlock. Both countries have put forth a plan of action in cutting carbon emission to a considerable level by 2020.

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