Japan and EU Urge Big Polluters to Cut Emissions
BRUSSELS -- Japan and the European Union urged major polluters such as the United States, China and India on Thursday to work harder to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
"It is very important that all countries concerned make their very best efforts to achieve the Kyoto protocol targets," Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a news briefing after talks with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
"Beyond 2013, I think it is important that we come up with an effective framework for the reduction of global warming gases that will include major emitting countries such as the United States, China and India as well as other emerging economies.
"It is is very important that ... all the countries make maximum efforts with regard to climate change."
Barroso, who announced deeper EU emissions cut targets on Wednesday, said there was more awareness globally of the climate change issue, not only due to environmental concerns but also worries about energy supplies and economic competitiveness.
Barroso said the EU and Japan were leading the way to combat the problem.
The United States, China, Russia and India are the top national emitters of greenhouse gases. Of the top four, only Russia is part of the Kyoto Protocol which mandates cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in the 2008-2012 period.
International talks to extend the pact further have stalled.
The United States, the world's biggest polluter, withdrew from the original Kyoto accord on the grounds it was harmful to the U.S. economy. Brussels has long argued the fight against climate change cannot succeed without Washington on board.
Barroso said climate change would top the global agenda for years to come and would be one of the most important topics at the next EU-Japan summit on June 5.
In announcing the new energy and climate change initiatives on Wednesday, Barroso challenged the world to follow Europe's lead in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
The EU's executive branch proposed that the 27-nation bloc reduce emissions by at least 20 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, with the possibility of going to 30 percent if other developed countries join in.
It renewed calls for the United States and other big economies to drop opposition to binding emissions cuts.