DURBAN (Reuters) - Japan believes extending Kyoto Protocol emission cuts is not nearly enough to tackle the greenhouse gas blamed for global warming and is looking for a fresh deal that covers all major emitters, its climate envoy said Friday.
It plans to honor pledges made to provide financing for a fund to help developing countries manage a steadily warming planet, even though its own finances are strained as it rebuilds from a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March.
“The Kyoto Protocol is not the right path,” chief Japanese climate envoy Masahiko Horie told Reuters at the COP 17 global climate change talks in Durban.
China, the world’s largest emitter of the gases scientists blame for the global warming that has led to rising sea levels, crop failures and intense droughts, is not subject to Kyoto’s legally binding cuts. The No.2 emitter, the United States, has not ratified the treaty.
The amount of emissions from the developed nations bound by Kyoto is roughly the same as the emissions from China, which relies heavily on fossil fuel to power its economic engine.
“Our ultimate goal is to start discussions and adopt as soon as possible, a comprehensive and legal document which establishes a fair and effective international framework,” Horie said.
Japan has said it will not renew its Kyoto pledges that expire next year but is willing to join a global deal, such as that being proposed by the European Union, which aims to reach a global pact on cuts by 2015 and be in place by 2020.
Japan, the world’s No.5 greenhouse gas producer, has not signed up to the EU plan but Horie said: “I think we share common ground with the EU.”
Horie said Japan has proposed putting together a working group of interested parties to help iron out a deal as envisioned by Tokyo.
“This international framework has to be the new one to which all major economies participate,” Horie said.
“Therefore, we have to find a very good landing zone where as many countries as possible, and including these major economies, will be landing all together.”
Power utilities, which account for about 30 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions in Japan, burned more fossil fuels than planned this year to make up lost output from nuclear plant shutdowns after the Fukushima plant was struck by the tsunami, causing the world’s worst radiation leakage in 25 years.
Yet, Japan has also maintained its goal under the Kyoto Protocol to cut emissions by 6 percent on average over the five years to 2012 from the 1990 levels.
It is also the biggest sponsor of a plan known as “fast-start” finance aimed at supplying $30 billion in short-term climate financing by the end of next year to help poor countries tackle global warming.
Horie said Japan has financed about 600 projects in nearly 100 countries under the plan.
“We will be continuing our efforts to honor what we have pledged and what we have promised despite this unprecedented disaster that took place in Japan,” he said.