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Asia

G-20 Divided on Climate Change Goals

The world's top greenhouse gas emitters have agreed to work together to draft a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. But they remain divided on the approach to curb emissions. The envoy of G-20 countries including US, China and Japan were meeting in Japan at the weekend.

Japan to focus on Climate Change at the G-8 summit in July

Japan to focus on Climate Change at the G-8 summit in July

The two-day ministerial meeting also known as the Gleneagles Dialogue wrapped up in Chiba, east of Tokyo, at the weekend. It was the first in a series of meetings in the run-up to the G-8 summit due in July this year in Japan. Among the participants were the envoys from 20 countries, which are the world's top green house gas emitters. The G-20 group includes the EU, the US, Japan, China and India. The aim of the conference was to discuss ways to tackle global climate change.

No Consensus

However, the meeting failed to produce any results. Opinions between rich and developing nations were divided on their roles in curbing green house gas emissions.

Former British Premier Tony Blair, who inaugurated the meeting, called upon the G-20 members to take collective action to reduce carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2050. A similar initiative was also discussed by Japanese Premier Yasua Fukuda in Davos earlier this year. But as Yurika Ayukawa, the vice chairwoman of Japanese non-governmental groups, explains the two positions are somewhat different:

"The Japanese position is 50 percent from the current level whereas I think Mr Tony Blair talks about the 1990 level. So that's pretty different. If it is from the current level, as Japan says, it should be more than 50 percent."

Japans push for Sectoral approach

Yurika Ayukawa also added that Japan should drop its focus on a 'sectoral' approach, an idea pushed by Japanese representatives at the two day meeting. Under the proposal - each industry sector will have to set energy efficiency goals.

The idea was supported by the industrialized nations, while the developing countries were sceptical about it. They expressed concern that they would be subjected to unfair obligations to reduce carbon emissions.

Little Progress on Post Kyoto Framework

The Kyoto-Protocol currently binds only industrialised countries to cap their emissions. The United States have shunned it, saying it is unfair by making no demands from developing nations.

Now that this climate treaty is due to expire in 2012, efforts are on to reach a consensus on a post Kyoto framework and to secure a deal involving all the countries including China, India and the US. But so far there is little progress on this front, says Mattias Machnik an undersecretary for the German ministry of the environment:

"The Americans say, they are ready to commit to long-term targets. But everyone else, including China and Brazil, should also sign that. The Chinese have in recent weeks shown a constructive approach. Beijing meanwhile has to spend about 10 percent of its gross domestic product to counter the damage caused to the environment. This means that China's current growth rate is actually eaten up by counter-measures for the environment."

A UN climate conference in December in Bali has set a deadline for a post-Kyoto deal by the end of next year. The next negotiations on the issue will start at the end of the month in Bangkok.

  • Date 16.03.2008
  • Author DW Staff 17/03/08
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  • Date 16.03.2008
  • Author DW Staff 17/03/08
  • Print Print this page
  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/LsMt