Japan expresses doubt on final agreements being made at the upcoming climate talks

Japan’s envoy to climate change talks expressed doubt Wednesday that a final agreement would be reached at the UN summit on tackling global warming that starts next week in Copenhagen.

“Due to time constraints … we would have to say it will be difficult to agree on a legally binding text” at the December 7-18 meeting, said Environment Minister Sakihito Ozawa.

However, he expressed hope that a non-binding political agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions can be signed by 192 nations there that would pave the way for a final text.

Such a political agreement should include the reduction targets of industrialized countries, mitigation actions by developing countries, pledges of financial aid, and a deadline for a legally binding text, he said.

“The negotiations will be complex, with a high degree of difficulty, but I believe it is possible to achieve a historical politically binding agreement,” he told reporters.

The center-left government of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has promised to slash emissions by 25 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, as long as major emitters such as the United States and China also take meaningful action.

Japan, where the Kyoto Protocol was signed in 1997, has so far struggled to meet its own previous target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by six percent between 1990 and the 2008-2012 period.

Tokyo has also pledged 9.2 billion dollars in aid to developing countries by 2012 to help them combat global warming.

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COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 2009

Source: AFP

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