Japan Puts It’s Money Where it’s Mouth Is on Climate Change

Japan said Wednesday it would offer 1.75 trillion yen (19.5 billion dollars) to developing nations under a climate deal, offering a major boost to the summit in Copenhagen.

The figure amounts to more than half of the money as part of a plan to assist developing nations, a key sticking point at the 194-nation conference in the Danish capital.

“Japan as a country takes very seriously its responsibility in the international community,” Environment Minister Sakihito Ozawa told reporters.

“Japan has decided today that we will provide financial assistance to developing nations of approximately 1.75 trillion yen including public and private finances,” he said.

Ozawa said that Japan was making the pledge “all on the premise that a fair and effective international framework should be built and that this framework should involve all major countries.”

He said that 1.3 trillion yen would come in public funds, with the rest consisting of private money in the world’s second largest economy.

Ozawa gave the dollar figure of 15 billion for the pledge, although it comes to 19.5 billion with the current strength of the Japanese currency against the greenback.

It marks the biggest contribution yet to the so-called fast-track fund aimed at helping developing nations cope with climate change through 2012.

It tops the pledge by European leaders to provide 7.2 billion euros (10.6 billion dollars). The United States has said it is ready to pay a “fair share” but President Barack Obama has not yet announced any figure.

Ozawa said the funding would include mitigation efforts and the development of low-carbon technology, along with adaption by small island states.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s left-leaning government has ramped up pledges by Japan to battle global warming and to find a successor to the landmark Kyoto Protocol negotiated in the Asian power’s ancient capital.

Japan earlier said it would also take part in a six-nation, 3.5 billion-dollar fund to address deforestation, a major source of climate change.

Photo by Greenpeace Finland

Japan Needs to Step it Up in Copenhagen

Japan needs to step up and take a more prominent and visible leadership role at the U.N. climate talks or the conference could end in failure, Japanese and foreign nongovernmental organizations said Thursday.

The Copenhagen conference is supposed to forge a deal on greenhouse gas emissions after the first period of the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

With developed and developing countries still divided and a growing split within developing countries over some issues threatening a successful outcome at the conference, calls for the country where the protocol was forged to do more are growing.

“Talks in Copenhagen are on the verge of collapse, with negotiations suspended for several hours Wednesday as developed and developing countries clashed,” the environmental NGO Avaaz.org said.

“Next week, Japan has the opportunity to break the deadlock by announcing an ambitious Hatoyama Initiative and fulfilling its obligation to provide developing countries with sufficient climate finance.”

With developing nations asking for hundreds of billions of dollars in aid guarantees for climate change mitigation and adaptation, developed countries like Japan are feeling pressure to go well beyond financial pledges of $10 billion annually from 2010 to 2012, which are currently being discussed.

Read more of this story: Japan under fire for laying low in Copenhagen

More Information:
COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 2009

Source: Japan Times

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.

More Information:
COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 2009

Source: AFP