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Sunday, 15 July, 2001, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
Japan gloomy on Kyoto talks
A critic of President Bush
President Bush has been severly criticised in Europe
Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has said talks to save the Kyoto climate change treaty, due to open on Monday in Bonn, are unlikely to reach agreement.

He also said Japan would wait until October before indicating whether it would sign up to Kyoto without the US on board.

"We will not be able to reach an agreement in Bonn but there will be another meeting in Morocco in October," Mr Koizumi said.

Japan's position is seen as crucial because it is trying to bring together the European Union, which supports the treaty on reducing greenhouses gases, and the US, which does not.
Junichiro Koizumi
Koizumi is keeping quiet about Japan's position


The talks in Bonn are the sixth round aimed at salvaging the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The previous round, held in the Hague last November, collapsed in acrimony.

Issues to be discussed include the use of carbon 'sinks' like forests to soak up carbon emissions, funding for developing countries to improve their technology, and so-called "carbon trading", where developed countries pay for other countries' unused emissions rights instead of cutting their own.

Mr Koizumi's comments follow Japan's failure last week to persuade the US to return to the Protocol.

President Bush has said he will not sign a treaty which is not in his country's economic interests, but has so far failed to suggest an alternative.

Morocco talks

Mr Koizumi said the US would not reveal its thinking until the next UN climate conference in late October, to be held in Morocco.

He said Japan might also wait until then before unveiling its own position, presumably to maintain its bargaining strength.

"We have yet to reach a conclusion as we are trying to seek ways to cooperate between the United States, Europe and Japan. Under this stance, it will take until late October for our honest views to come out," he said.

Japan holds the key to the protocol's future.

In order to take effect, the Kyoto treaty needs to be ratified by countries accounting for at least 55% of the total 1990 carbon dioxide emissions from developed countries.

The EU and its allies, who have said they will ratify the treaty with or without US support, account for 49.5% of emssions. In order to pass the threshold they needs Japan's 8.5% of emissions.

The US accounts for 26%.

The BBC's William Horsley
"Japanese officials have questioned the sense of ratifying an accord on climate change which does not cover the United States"
See also:

15 Jul 01 | Europe
Storm clouds over climate talks
09 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Japan to press US on Kyoto
03 Jul 01 | Sci/Tech
Japan worried on climate treaty
07 Apr 01 | Americas
EU ready to renegotiate Kyoto
30 Mar 01 | Americas
Kyoto: Why did the US pull out?
29 Mar 01 | Sci/Tech
US facing climate isolation
28 Mar 01 | Sci/Tech
Anger as US abandons Kyoto
26 Nov 00 | UK Politics
French blamed for climate talks failure
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