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Japan announced at the Cancun climate talks that the country will abandon the Kyoto Protocol, the only treaty that forces Northern countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Social organizations following the UN conference consider Japan´s announcement a threat to the process of negotiations.
“Japan’s move to drop out of the Kyoto treaty shows a severe lack of recognition of its own historical and moral responsibility”, said Yuri Onodera, member of Friends of the Earth Japan. “With this position, Japan isolates itself from the rest of the world. Even worse, this step undermines the ongoing talks and is a serious threat to the progress needed here in Cancun”, regretted the activist according to a press release by Friends of the Earth International.
Japan was very strong and stated that they will not join the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol (2013-2017) in any circumstances, a position confirmed by the Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan in Tokyo.
In an interview with Real World Radio, Yuri Onodera said that Japan needs to realize that the “survival of the world is at stake”. He explained that the concern of the Asian country is to eventually lose their competitiveness by limiting their industries to cut emissions.
Canada and Russia have also given clear signs of rejection to the Kyoto Protocol, but their positions are not expected to be as negative as those of Japan at this COP. Onodera said that developing countries should take this opportunity to pressure in favor of a second commitment period.
The member of Friends of the Earth Japan expects that this COP agrees on the continuity of the Protocol and highlighted the need for developed countries to commit to strong emission reductions.
However, Onodera recognized that industrialized countries, especially those which are not part of the European Union are reluctant to accept significant emission cuts if the US and big developing countries (such as China, India and Brazil) do not also commit to similar levels of reductions. The US is the only country that never ratified the Kyoto Protocol.
According to Onodera, there could be some kind of agreement in Cancun with reference to North-South technology transfer for a more sustainable development of developing countries. It is also possible than an agreement will be reached on the establishment of a climate finance mechanism. Issues related to the intellectual property rights of these technologies are also on the table.
The civil society is paying close attention to the negotiations in terms of the agreements that could be reached on these issues. Several organizations reject the carbon market, the REDD mechanism and the involvement of the World Bank in climate finance.
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