Delegates working on the negotiating agenda for a sweeping
global warming pact, clashed over Japan's push for early discussions
of industry-specific limits on carbon dioxide emissions, delegates
and environmentalists attending the UN Climate Change talks
in Bangkok, said.
Representatives from 163 countries were hammering out the
working plan for talks meant to lead to a climate change agreement
by the end of next year, aimed at preventing rising temperatures
from triggering environmental disaster.
The five-day UN-sponsored discussions were scheduled to end
on Friday 4th April. Delegates disagreed, however, over how
soon they should schedule in-depth talks on Japan's so-called
'sectoral approach'. A draft schedule circulated on
Friday showed such talks 'pencilled-in' as soon as
Under the Japanese proposal, certain businesses - such as
steel and cement making - would set industrywide targets for
energy efficiency. Proponents, including the United States,
say this would ensure fair competition among steel makers
across national boundaries. It would also allow Japan to take
advantage of its already high standards of energy efficiency.
Developing nations and environmentalists, however, say they
don't have enough information about Japan's proposal. Some
fear it could be used to impose reduction targets on certain
industries in poorer nations, while allowing rich countries
to do less to battle global warming. "The developing countries,
as a whole, are very suspicious of how that concept is being
used" - said Angela Anderson, director the Pew Environmental
Group's global warming campaign.
Japan wants the talks as soon as possible, while developing
nations are eager to hear, first, about what industrialised
countries will do to cut their emissions of carbon dioxide
and other 'greenhouse' gases blamed for global warming
and how much money they will spend to help poor nations adapt
to climate change.
"That's causing tension" - said Ian Fry, representative of
the island nation of Tuvalu.
Japan, which is struggling to meet its greenhouse gas reduction
targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, is campaigning to put
its approach at the center of a future warming agreement to
take effect when the Kyoto pact ends in 2012. Kyoji Komachi,
Japan's top negotiator in Bangkok, said Japan was not using
the proposal to force developing countries into the same emissions
targets as wealthy industrialised nations.
"We want an in-depth discussion - that's all we're looking
for" - Komachi said. While he denied Japan was insisting on
specific timing, he added - "We would like to see the discussion
Scientists say the world needs quick action to significantly
cut greenhouse gas emissions to control the rise in global
temperatures, but nations are split over how to go about that.
Developing nations say the industrialised world is to blame
for the problem - so, rich countries should make the biggest
cuts while letting poorer nations expand their economies.
Some industrialised countries - such as the US and Japan -
however, say major developing nations like China and India
need to control emissions as well.
Also on Thursday (3rd April), Norway and the European Union
called for tougher global regulation of greenhouse gas emissions
from ships and airplanes, saying they should be included in
any new climate pact alongside pollutants from power plants
However, Thailand and others opposed the plan, saying it
could hurt their economies. Some, including Australia and
China, felt the issue was already being tackled by the industries'
respective associations - the International Civil Aviation
Organization and the UN's International Maritime Organization.