Japan threatens progress at climate talks in Cancun

CANCUN, MEXICO December 1, 2010 – Japan’s recent announcement to abandon the Kyoto Protocol is a threat to vital progress needed at the UN climate talks in Cancun, warned Friends of the Earth International.

At the opening of the UN climate talks in Cancun, that started Monday and will end Friday 10 December, Japan announced to abandon the only treaty that could tackle growing greenhouse gas emissions by rich countries; the Kyoto Protocol. This historic treaty was, ironically, agreed to in Japan, which chaired the third Conference of the Parties under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1997.

Yuri Onodera, Friends of the Earth Japan: “Japan’s move to drop out of the Kyoto treaty shows a severe lack of recognition of its own historical and moral responsibility. With this position, Japan isolates itself from the rest of the world. Even worse, this step undermines the ongoing talks and is a serious threat to the progress needed here in Cancun.

The UN climate talks in Cancun are seen as a critical test in which the credibility of the multilateral process of the climate talks and trust of developing countries can be reestablished. It is developing countries that already suffer from the impacts of climate change caused by developed countries like Japan. Nevertheless Japan made its intentions more than clear during the first two days in Cancun: it says it will not join the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol in any circumstances, a position confirmed by the Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan in Tokyo.

Friends of the Earth International urgently demands that Japan reconsider its position and stop stalling climate talks which have hardly even started. All rich countries, including Japan, should agree on cutting their emissions by at least 40 percent by 2020, without resorting to carbon offsetting, and commit to this under a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

->Press Conference in Cancun

Friends of the Earth will be hosting a civil society press conference on Japan’s controversial Kyoto stance at the climate talks in Cancun today, 1.30 pm Mexican time at press conference Room Luna in the Azteca Building of the Moon Palace hotel, with speakers from Christian Aid, Stockholm Environment Institute and Friends of the Earth Japan.

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