Japan withdraws from Kyoto treaty

Published March 1, 2002

The Japanese government began the new year by shocking observers with the news it will not abide by the Kyoto protocol.

The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported, “Domestic measures to reduce greenhouse gases in line with the Kyoto Protocol, which the government wants to ratify early next year, are making slow progress in the face of opposition from industrial and other circles.”

As a result, reports the Shimbun, “The Central Environment Council, a government advisory body, has said in a report that, for now, industries will not be given any regulations to follow and, instead, will be allowed to combat gas emissions on a voluntary basis.”

Japan’s withdrawal “has been prompted largely by the decade-long stagnation in the Japanese economy, resulting in growing unemployment and lack of economic growth,” reported Australian climate expert John Daly.

“According to reports, Japanese CO2 emissions are already 17% over their 1990 level, with a protocol commitment for a 6% cut on that 1990 level,” Daly added. “To enforce such a cut now would be to effectively put the entire Japanese economy into crash reverse–and during a recession.”

Observed Emeritus Professor Philip Stott, of the University of London, “This sadly was inevitable. The Kyoto Protocol has always been flawed scientifically, but even more so economically and politically.”

“I suspect other countries will soon emulate Japan, such as Canada and Australia,” added Stott. “The real need is to maintain and to develop strong economies that can adapt to whatever change comes, hot, cold, dry or wet.”