When G8 leaders meet next week in Japan at the northern resort city of Toyako, climate change will be high on the agenda. Japan, which currently holds the presidency of the G8, will put forward its proposals to deal with global warming -- including its aim to cut emissions by more than 60-80% from current levels by 2050.
Toyako, Japan is the venue of the G8 Summit 07-09 July 2008
Japan could not have chosen a better location for the upcoming G-8 summit than the resort city of Toyako. The city, on the northern island of Hokkaido, surrounded by mountains and a lake called Toya, is the place where leaders from the world’s seven leading economies and Russia will gather to discuss some of the key global issues such as climate change and protecting the environment.
Tokyo wants this year's G8 summit to shape the course of negotiations to reach a deal which will replace the Kyoto Protocol on curbing global warming. The current treaty runs till 2012. Japan is urging the leaders to agree to a common vision of a 50 percent cut by mid-century. Masako Konishi, a climate expert from the WWF, Tokyo says, “Japan thinks Kyoto was unfair and it wants all the countries including the US, China and India to be on board to cut emissions.”
The summit's host, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda intends to use the gathering to demonstrate his country's leadership in fighting climate change. Ahead of the summit, he announced a series of proposals or the so-called Fukuda Vision for his country. He set out a long term plan to reduce Japan's carbon emissions by 60 to 80 percent by 2050. Fukuda also called for a sectoral approach for improving energy efficiency, which involves setting separate targets for different types of industry. Jan Burck from the environmental group German Watch Bonn explains: “There you compare different industrial sectors of the countries with each other. For instance if the car production sector in China is causing a certain amount of emissions, then you compare it with other countries and may find that this sector should reduce its targets.”
Burck, however, has doubts whether this approach will succeed: “It is important that it is not the only approach for emissions cuts because developing countries won’t follow it.”
Also, in Japan itself, not everyone is satisfied with Fukuda’s vision. Many say the country needs to have urgent mid-term goals to put a hold on emissions, which have increased by almost seven percent compared to 1990 levels. Japan is currently the world’s fifth largest carbon emitter.
Masako Konishi from the WWF Tokyo says: “We are far from being satisfied with Fukuda’s vision. We need to have a road map, which leads to at least 80 percent reduction by 2050 and Japan has failed to have a real mid-term target.”