Government is responsible to achieve goals of Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol, which obliges developed countries to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions to help slow down global warming, took effect on February 16.

Under the first international arrangement with legal binding power to prevent further global warming, concluded at the third Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Conventions on Climate Change (COP3) in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan is to curb emissions by 6 percent in the period from 2008 to 2012 compared to the 1990 level.

Japanese Communist Party Policy Commission Chair Koike Akira on February 15 announced a statement on the effectuation of the pact, as follows:

"Overriding difficulties, including the U.S. withdrawal from the pact, the Kyoto Protocol on preventing global warming, adopted at the COP3 took effect on February 16. The pact's effectuation is the result of public opinion in Japan and the rest of the world calling for gas emissions to be reduced.

With the frequent extraordinary climate changes caused by warming as well as floods throughout the world, an imperative task for developed economies of the pact is to achieve goals they upheld. The United States should take this occasion to return to the pact and make internationally concerted efforts. The JCP wants the Japanese government to exert persistent efforts to sway the U.S. government.

To Japan, the COP3 chair, is strictly tasked with achieving the internationally pledged goal of curbing its emissions by 6 percent from the 1990 figure. To achieve this goal, it is necessary for Japan to reduce emissions by 14 percent, taking into account the 8 percent increase from 1990 up to 2003. Steps should be taken to set up measures to drastically cut the emissions in the industrial and public sectors, the emitter of 80 percent of greenhouse gases in Japan. However, a program for achieving goals set by the Kyoto Protocol, which the government is now formulating, proposes to revise goals so as to allow more energy-originated emissions of carbon dioxide. This is because the core of the government measures on gas reduction is heavily dependent on a "voluntary action program" of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren). It is also because the government measures depend on the "Kyoto Mechanism" which allows a member to acquire an emission quota from another member abroad to add to its own. It is mistaking the means for the end for electricity and steel industries to increase emissions in Japan and use the "Kyoto Mechanism" by taking advantage of low costs abroad.

The government must introduce effective mechanisms by at least determining the total quantity to be reduced, estimating emissions by every office, reporting on reduction programs, coordinating programs at offices and industries with the central and local governments, and introducing environment taxes and other measures.

Achieving the goals set by the Kyoto Protocol is just a first step, though it is important in arresting the rapidly progressing phenomenon of global warming. In order to prevent the serious warming predicted by the third report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it is necessary to formulate reduction goals and measures after 2012, taking into account long-and-mid-term climate goals and taking as a basis the pact and its framework. The JCP calls on every individual as a global citizen to make efforts at home and in residential areas to prevent the global environment from further warming. (end)

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