Kyoto Shimbun 1997.12.3

Five NGO groups critical of the Net System, calling for Japan to take responsibility

On December 1, the first day of the COP3 Kyoto Conference, five environmental NGO (non-governmental organization) groups from Japan and overseas held a joint press conference at the Kyoto International Conference Hall, the site of COP3. Environmental NGO's are expected to play a major role in determining the course the conference will take. At the conference, the groups called for the government of Japan, the host nation for the conference, to raise its target for greenhouse gas reduction, and for Japan to take strong leadership during the conference. Each of the groups expressed serious concern that transactions based on political and economic interests may cause negotiations at the conference to head in a direction away from the goals of the NGO's.

Mie Asaoka spoke at the press conference as head of the Climate Form (head office in Nakagyo ward, Kyoto), a forum of Japanese environmental NGO's. Ms. Asaoka commented on that fact that Hiroshi Oki, Director-General of Japan's Environmental Agency and chairman for COP3, indicated for the first time at a press conference on the 1st that plans were being made to adopt the Net System. Ms. Asaoka strongly criticized the Japanese government, saying that while Japan is the 4th largest emitter of CO2 in the world, the country seems to be looking for a way out for themselves, and she questioned the qualifications of Japan to serve as host for the conference. Ms. Asaoka stated that while compromise is needed in the negotiations, Japan is trying to make minimal effort right from the start of the conference.

Next, Bill Hare, head of the Climate Change Policies Division of Greenpeace International, commented that the various proposals that have been made related to global warming have reciprocal loop-holes, such as the idea of emission rights that define emission boundaries which can be bought and sold between countries. Mr. Hare also expressed strong disappointment in the U.S. decision to recognize a system of "differentiation" that allows different reduction targets for each country.

Other representatives from U.S. and EU NGO's also asked for higher greenhouse gas reduction targets. A member from the developing country of Malaysia, however, stated that the advanced nations must first work out their targets, then the developing nations should look for ways to achieve sustainable development.