Even as most countries have come to believe that not much would be achieved at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) at Copenhagen next month in terms of arriving at a consensus on how to save the world from global warming, Japan on Wednesday said it had not lost hope and was making rigorous efforts for an acceptable agreement on the issue.

“Maybe things have not worked out at the negotiators level, but we believe that the Ministerial level meeting at Copenhagen, which is political in nature, could arrive at a consensus,” Yoshiko Kijima, senior negotiator for Climate Change, Climate Change Division, International Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan told a group of visiting journalists here on Wednesday.

“We are still making efforts and communicating with each other. We still have four weeks to go before the COP-15 meeting. There is also the pre-COP ministerial level meeting where things can be achieved,” Ms. Kijima said.

She cited the examples of the third meeting of the COP meeting which achieved a breakthrough after the United States came up with the proposal of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which clicked and the Bali Action Plan that arrived at a consensus on the last day, rather midnight.

Bargaining

Admitting that the gap between the developed and developing countries was “wide and deep, she said negotiations were all about bargaining, which was an ongoing process.

She admitted that all preparatory meetings to COP ended in disappointments.

Hinting that the outcome at Copenhagen depended much on what the United States committed, Ms. Kijima said the issue of climate change could be taken up with U.S. President Barack Obama when he arrived here on an official visit on Friday. What exactly would be discussed between Mr. Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama was difficult to say, she said.

But as far as Japan’s commitment to reducing its emissions by 25 per cent by 2020, when compared to the 1990 level, is concerned, it would stand by it until 2012, though it is premised on an agreement on ambitious targets by all the major economies.

Japan is also mobilising all available policy tools, including the introduction of a domestic trading mechanism and a feed-in tariff for renewable energy, as well as the consideration of a global warming tax. “However, imposing taxes on people is always a difficult proposal,” Ms. Kijima said.

Assuring that Japan was ready to provide more financial and technical assistance than in the past in accordance with the progress of international negotiations, Ms. Kijima said the government believed that developed countries, including Japan, must contribute through substantial new and additional public and private financing.

The “Hatoyama Initiative” of the Japanese Prime Minister also suggests that it is necessary to develop rules that will facilitate international recognition of developing countries’ emissions reduction, in particular those achieved through financial assistance in a measurable, reportable and verifiable manner.

On assistance to developing countries, consideration should be given to innovative mechanisms. An international system should be established under the United Nations climate change regime for one-stop information and finances while securing transparency and effective utilisation of assistance, the Hatoyama Initiative recommends.

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