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2009年11月14日 (土)

日米漂流:オバマ大統領来日を前に/下 温室ガス数値目標

(Mainichi Japan) November 13, 2009
Japan, U.S. grow apart over efforts to tackle global warming
日米漂流:オバマ大統領来日を前に/下 温室ガス数値目標

 ◇「25%減」表明に冷淡 関心は新興国の動向
A representative of the Japanese government urged that the base year for setting targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions not be limited to 1990 during a U.N. special working group meeting in Barcelona on Nov. 6.

The administration of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama earlier announced that Japan will seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. The base year for both targets is 1990.
The United States, which demands that the base year should be set at 2005, expressed support for Japan's demand that the base year should not be limited to 1990.

Washington's demand was incorporated in proposals for the draft of green house gas reduction targets -- which parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change are aiming to agree on at an upcoming ministerial conference on climate change in Copenhagen next month.

The United States would be required to reduce its emissions less if the base year is set at any year after 1990, because its emissions have been growing since that year.

An official of a nongovernmental organization on environmental protection expressed disappointment at the move. "Once again, Japan follows the United States."

Japan set a target of reducing per-capita greenhouse gas emissions to 3 tons annually following the signing of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.

Tokyo then notified the United States of its numerical target.
The previous administration of Prime Minister Taro Aso announced in June this year that it would aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent from 2005 levels. It followed the United States in setting the base year at 2005.

However, the Hatoyama administration's announcement that Japan will seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels has demonstrated a major change in Japan-U.S. relations in the field of global warming countermeasures.

The move was appreciated by the United Nations and European countries while Washington remained silent about Japan's declaration.

When asked about Japan's target during a special working group meeting in Bangkok in late September, U.S. chief negotiator Jonathan Pershing coolly replied that he had not yet analyzed the target.

Even though Japanese representatives made remarks in favor of Washington at the Barcelona meeting, U.S. negotiators did not appreciate the Hatoyama initiative, which includes measures to extend assistance to developing countries to help them reduce greenhouse gases.

"The United States had viewed Japan as an ally. However, after listening to Prime Minister Hatoyama's speech, U.S. officials thought Japan is distancing itself from Washington," said a high-ranking official of the Foreign Ministry.

In a meeting on greenhouse gases on Nov. 4, members of the U.S. House of Representatives diplomatic panel focused on a response to emerging countries such as China and India.

U.S. climate change special envoy Todd Stern warned that the United States would lose out to competition from emerging countries such as China and India in developing alternative energy sources, pointing to the possibility that technological innovation would occur in these countries.

Yutaka Miki, chief researcher for a strategy on combating global warming at the Japan Research Institute, pointed out that the U.S. government pays more attention to China than Japan over global warming countermeasures.
"The U.S. government is stepping up efforts to ensure an anti-global warming bill passes into law. It is paying attention to Chinese industry, a potential rival of its domestic market," he said.

Tokyo is attempting to take the initiative in combating global warming by setting such an ambitious target and getting major producers of greenhouse gases, such as the United States and China, involved in the process. However, Washington does not appear to be paying attention to Japan as the two countries grow apart.

"The actions of China, which Congress is paying attention to, is the most important point for President Obama. At the Japan-U.S. summit, the two leaders will likely agree to cooperate in the field of energy and in efforts to form a consensus in the COP15, but the content of the agreement will not be substantive," a diplomatic source lamented.

Even though bilateral relations have been strained over U.S. bases in Japan and other sticky issues, it should be easy for the two countries to cooperate on environmental issues such as global warming countermeasures.

However, Japan and the United States do not appear to be working closely in leading the deadlocked multilateral negotiations on climate change. (By Junko Adachi and Ai Oba, Environment and Science News Department. This is the last part of a five-part series on the Japan-U.S. alliance)

毎日新聞 2009年11月12日 東京朝刊


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