INTERVIEW - Japan says Kyoto support, CO2 targets in the balance
COLOGNE (Reuters) - Japan may withdraw support for the Kyoto Protocol post-2012, demanding major emitters the United States, China and India sign up to a unified plan to cut greenhouse gases, a prime ministerial climate advisor said.
"We are seeking the inclusion of China, India and the United States into a united system for global (greenhouse gas) abatement," Mutsuyoshi Nishimura, former chief climate negotiator for Japan, told Reuters in an interview on Friday.
"All major emitters must come on board. That is what we are demanding ... If these three countries do not sign up to a unified system, then there is a real possibility for Japan to withdraw (from Kyoto) as there is no point for any country to stay on," he said, adding that the country's 2020 emissions cut target was also at risk.
Japan said in January it would stick to an offer to cut carbon by 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 on condition that major emitters agree on an ambitious climate deal, but Nishimura said this may prove difficult.
"If there is no international agreement there may be no way for Japan to keep up the 25 percent target.
"It is beneficial for Japan and all nations to go low-carbon no matter what, so we will certainly keep up efforts."
Kyoto binds the carbon emissions of 37 industrialised countries including the EU, Japan, Russia, Canada, Australia, Norway and Switzerland, and developing countries want those governments to agree to a tougher, second leg after 2012.
Nishimura, speaking on the sidelines of a carbon market conference in Germany, is now special advisor on climate change to Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who last year made Japan's deep emissions pledge.
The target was submitted to the UN's climate secretariat under a climate accord worked out by major emitters led by China and the United States at UN talks in Copenhagen in December.
The EU could follow Japan's exit after it said in March it will only sign up to a continued Kyoto Protocol after 2012 if all other ratifiers including Japan and Russia do the same.
Despite U.S inaction on climate change over the past decade, Nishimura was positive about the targets proposed under two proposed bills currently in Congress.
"You have to have a projected view on the U.S. target. It's quite a large reduction over the long term," he said.
The bills offer to cut carbon emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, by 42 percent by 2030 and by more than 80 percent by 2050.
(Editing by Keiron Henderson)
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