Fri, Jan 16, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Transport ministers meet in Japan to plot climate action


Twenty-two nations met in Japan yesterday to find ways to curb global warming from transport, which causes nearly one-quarter of carbon emissions but has partly evaded strict regulation.

Transport ministers from the nations — including key polluters such as the US, China and India — opened two days of talks in Tokyo as momentum builds to draft a post-Kyoto treaty on climate change.

“Everyone living on the Earth is expected to take responsible actions to protect our planet,” Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso told the session, which also includes UN climate chief Yvo de Boer.

“I would like each participating country to accelerate its efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the transport sector, as well as to enhance its support for developing countries, utilizing its technologies and experiences,” Aso said.

It is one of a series of meetings to lay the groundwork ahead of a December conference in Copenhagen which is supposed to approve a treaty for climate action for after 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol’s obligations expire.

Transport — air, sea and land — accounts for 23 percent of carbon emissions, topping all sectors except electricity generation and indoor heating, according to the International Energy Agency.

An April meeting in Bangkok agreed to look at reducing emissions from air and sea travel, which is a growing source of emissions but had been left out of the Kyoto Protocol because of its international nature.

But nations have already been toughening standards for cars’ emissions — decisions mostly taken before the current economic crisis.

Kazuyoshi Kaneko, Japan’s transport minister, said that tackling global warming was in the world’s long-term economic interest.

“Establishing more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly transport systems will strengthen the foundation of each economy, opening a brighter future for our society,” Kaneko said.

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