Developing countries accused Japan on Wednesday of breaking a pledge to extend a UN pact for fighting global warming beyond 2012 and said that climate talks in Mexico would fail unless Tokyo backed down.
Japan, among almost 40 industrialized nations curbing greenhouse gas emissions under the UN’s Kyoto Protocol until 2012, said it would not extend cuts unless other big emitters like the US and China also join in.
“There will be no successful outcome for Cancun” if Japan sticks to its refusal to extend cuts under Kyoto, said Abdulla Alsaidi, the chair of the G77 and China, the main body of developing nations at the two-week talks in Mexico.
Almost 200 nations are trying to draft a modest package to help avert floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising seas. However, the tensions show that hurdles remain in building trust between rich and poor countries since last year’s Copenhagen summit failed to agree a treaty.
“It does not make sense” to extend Kyoto, Hideki Minamikawa, a deputy Japanese environment minister, told a news conference.
He said a broader deal was needed as Kyoto countries now account for only 27 percent of heat-trapping emissions.
“We need to achieve global reductions,” he said, adding that Japan wanted to register all post-2012 cuts in a new deal, building on a non-binding Copenhagen Accord agreed last year by 140 nations accounting for 80 percent of emissions.
Christiana Figueres, head of the UN Framework Convention on -Climate Change, said Japan had made similar statements in the past and warned all sides that a clear decision on Kyoto’s fate was not expected to be taken in Cancun.
“Given the diversity of positions on the Kyoto Protocol, it is not going to be possible for Cancun to take a radical decision one way or another on the Kyoto Protocol,” she said.
That means ever less time to agree on what happens to the Kyoto Protocol before its first period ends on Dec. 31, 2012.
Kyoto obliges its members to cut emissions by an average 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-to-2012 and they are meant to agree on new cuts.
Kyoto underpins carbon markets, which want assurances of policies beyond 2012 to guide investments. The EU and other Kyoto backers want others to join in beyond 2012, but have been less outspoken. The US never ratified Kyoto, arguing that it would cost US jobs and wrongly omitted 2012 targets for China and India.