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G8 Environment Ministers Push for Post-Kyoto Agreement

Environment ministers from the seven largest industrial nations and Russia continued talks Sunday, May 25 in Kobe, Japan, on pushing for a post-Kyoto protocol agreement on climate change.

Greenpeace supporters in Bali

Environmentalists hope the G8 can agree on a protocol which signals a brighter future

Environmental groups on the meeting's sidelines were urging the Japanese hosts to show "substantial movement" in reaching an agreement to replace the Kyoto accord that is set to expire in 2012.

The Group of Eight (G8) ministers were to release a plan at the end of their discussions on Monday on technology transfer to developing countries on waste management.

Environment Minister Ichiro Kamoshita told the meeting Japan was hoping for a long-term deal on targets for halving carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050 at the upcoming G8 meeting in July.

Kamoshita said he hoped "the target would present a shared vision among the countries participating in the G8 summit." He also called on China, the US and other major CO2 producers to attend the summit.

Biggest polluters must sign up, says Japan

Japan, which currently holds the G8 presidency, believes that without the largest producers of CO2, a follow-up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol that runs out in 2012 would be ineffective.

Critics accuse Japan of trying to shift the blame for CO2 emissions onto developing countries with Tokyo's proposals for measuring CO2 reductions by industry sector.

The proposals call for all countries, including China and India, to agree to reductions in certain industries instead of setting national targets.

The proposal would only work if the industrialized countries first meet their own responsibilities by setting mid-term targets, according to the head of the German delegation in Kobe, Matthias Machnig.

Japan's approach could be an element of any future hierarchy of responsibility for reducing CO2 emissions, but it was "not a solution to the problem," Machnig said.

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