Oil Change International

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Japan Also Under Fire in Bali

Its not just Australia that is being criticized for its stance in Bali. In an opening gambit, Japan has proposed that the climate conference pursue a broad “least common denominator” approach to negotiating new controls on global-warming gases. Environmentalists couldn’t think less of it.

The proposal says nothing about making future targets for emission reductions legally binding — the principle underlying the current Kyoto Protocol.

“Is Japan scrapping the Kyoto Protocol on its 10th birthday?” asked Japanese environmentalist Kyoko Kawasaka. A Canadian colleague spoke of a “plot” by Japan and the United States to block a new Kyoto-style global agreement.

In a draft decision to be submitted for consideration Wednesday, Japan proposed that talks begin on a post-Kyoto agreement that would address a “global long-term goal for emission reduction” and “policies and measures” for reining in emissions.

It mentions a possible “sectorial approach on bottom-up basis” — meaning nationally, not internationally, determined targets for power plant or automobile emissions, for example. But the draft doesn’t speak of internationally binding targets.

“It’s clear to a number of us that the U.S. would like nothing more than for nothing to happen on the Kyoto track,” said Canadian Steven Guilbeault, a leading environmentalist spokesman here. “They will let their Japanese colleagues do that.”

All starting smoothly then.

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