Kyoto Shimbun 1997.11.27

Final global warming talks begin Monday

Delegates from 167 countries will come together for global climate change talks at the Kyoto International Conference Hall.
The 3rd Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will be held at the Kyoto International Conference Hall in Sakyo ward, Kyoto, Japan, from December 1 to December 10. The conference will serve as a platform for discussions on international efforts to prevent global warming, the most severe environmental problem facing the 21 century.

More than 2,000 governmental delegations from around the world (167 countries and 1 regional organization) will be participating in the conference, as well as environmental and industrial organization members, who will be participating as observers. The goal of the conference is to adopt a protocol that encompasses policies and measures to reduce greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide.

However, in regard to target figures for greenhouse gas reduction, industrial nations such as Japan, the U.S., and European nations have views and interests opposing those of developing nations, the small island nations group, and the oil producing nations, making negotiations difficult.

The early half of the conference will be devoted to a low-level negotiation process by governmental officials. The main focus of this talk is a variety of complex measures such as emission trade, joint implementation, and emission "budget" system, which allows parties, in a budget period, to lend or borrow some emission quota from another budget period.

In the second half of the ten-day long conference, about 50 ministers and vice-presidents come together in Kyoto and will have a final talk to reach an agreement on greenhouse gases reduction.

Hiroshi Oki, Director-General of Japan's Environment Agency, who is expected to chair the conference, expressed his optimism at a press conference, saying, "There is a common recognition that the success of Kyoto (conference) is very important among industrial countries. We are approaching a final agreement in Kyoto."

The Eco-Relay Bicycle Campaign Reaches its Goal on the 29th

A nationwide bicycle relay, the "Stop Global Warming Trans-Archipelago Eco-Relay", will conclude in Kyoto on November 29 as a preliminary event for COP3. A bicycle parade through Kyoto is planned for the 30th, in which Kyoto Prefecture Governor Teiichi Aramaki and Kyoto City Mayor Yorikane Masumoto will join. The Relay Committee, sponsoring the event, is also inviting residents of Kyoto to participate by riding their bicycles in the parade.

The bicycle relay groups began on October 21, 1997, running along six courses throughout Japan, from Okinawa Prefecture in the south to Hokkaido in the north. The relay connects all of the prefectures in Japan, calling for a reduction in CO2 emissions and collecting signatures on an "Adopt the Kyoto Protocol" petition. Signatures include those of 700 city and town mayors of 35 prefectures and 28 prefectural governors.

NGO's coming from Europe by Train and Boat

Several conference participants, primarily from non-governmental organizations (NGO) in Europe, have traveled to Kyoto on the Siberian Railway and ferries to attend the conference. The group has chosen to use this "Climate Train" because trains and boats emit less greenhouse gas than airplanes. The 32 members of the group arrived at the port of Kobe on November 26.

The group consists of students, scientists and journalists from 16 countries, including England, Germany, Finland, Croatia and Russia. The party left Moscow on November 12, taking the Trans-Siberian Railway to Peking, where they arrived on the 21st. The group held conferences in Novosibirsk and Peking along the way. After arriving in Kobe from China, approximately 20 members of the party will continue to Kyoto on bicycle.