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Japan offers Kyoto hope

Green protester
Environmental campaigners have been getting their message across  


BONN, Germany -- European attempts to shore up the Kyoto deal to fight global warming have received Japanese support.

Japan has said it does not want to delay ratifying the accord in its own parliament and urged the U.S. to rethink its opposition to Kyoto.

The future of the agreement was thrown into doubt when U.S. President George W. Bush rejected the plan shortly after taking office.

Political leaders from 180 nations are meeting in Bonn to try to rescue the deal, which outlines commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

And Japan has been seen as holding the key to whether the treaty survives or dies.

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If Tokyo presses on with the deal it is possible to reach two crucial milestones -- that 55 countries accounting for 55 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions in 1990 ratify Kyoto.

If it abandons Kyoto the 55 percent emissions target cannot be reached.

On Tuesday Japanese Environment Minister Yuriko Kawaguchitold said: "For all countries, participation of the United States is the best scenario.

"It is very important for all countries to deal with global warming under the same rules."

She added Japan does not want to delay the negotiations and would "do its utmost" to help bring the treaty into force by next year.

Delegates are trying work out detailed rules for the accord, which pledges rich countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions -- notably carbon dioxide from cars, factories and power stations.

European governments and developing countries are incensed that the U.S. -- the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases -- refuses to commit to binding cuts.

The pact was made in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, when industrialised nations agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by an average of five percent of 1990 levels by 2010.

Bush renounced the Kyoto pact in March, saying it was based on questionable science and unfair because it exempts big developing countries like China and India.

The U.S., the biggest emitter of man-made carbon dioxide, produces 36.1 percent of the gas, the EU accounts for 24.2 percent, and Japan is responsible for 8.5 percent.

This month a new report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change -- a group of scientists convened 13 years ago -- said the Earth is now warming faster than at any time in the previous 1,000 years.

The report said the blanket of heat-trapping gases has already raised ground temperatures by one-half degree Celsius (1.1 F) in the last 100 years, and scientists say the pace could quicken dramatically over the next 100 unless pollution is limited






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