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Australia resists Japan\'s call to join climate pact

03.05.2002
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Australia resists Japan\ s call to join climate pact
CANBERRA - Australia resisted a call by Japan yesterday to ratify the Kyoto pact on climate change that is designed to cut the emission of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.
Australia signed but then refused to ratify the 1997 U.N. treaty, arguing it will not work without including the United States, the world\'s biggest polluter. Washington shunned Kyoto last year, saying it would hurt the economy. It has instead drawn up a voluntary domestic plan. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, in Australia for two days during a week-long regional tour, urged Australian Prime Minister John Howard to join the list of over 50 countries which have endorsed Kyoto. \"We very much hope that Australia will also strive to be a member of the Kyoto protocol. I expressed this desire of mine,\" Koizumi told a joint news conference. \"As far as Japan is concerned we believe the global warming issue is a matter of great concern...and we are proceeding with preparations so that the Kyoto Protocol will be ratified during this session of the Diet,\" Koizumi said. But Howard gave no ground, merely acknowledging the two countries differed on the pact. A key U.S. and Australian criticism of the Kyoto treaty is that it does not impose greenhouse gas reduction targets on developing nations. \"So far as the ratification of Kyoto is concerned, Australia\'s position is that we believe the inclusion of the United States and developing countries is important if you are to have a really comprehensive global agreement on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions,\" Howard told a news conference. \"But that will not prevent Australia and Japan working together even though we do have some differences in relation to the Kyoto agreement which are understood and respected on both sides.\" Australia, the world\'s largest coal exporter, is under pressure from carbon-intensive industries like mining to back away from the pact which commits developed nations to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, by 2012. Under the Kyoto pact, Australia had the right to increase its emissions by eight percent above 1990 levels. Story by Belinda Goldsmith REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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