Poor countries should set climate targets

July 2, 2008 12:00 am

, TOKYO, July  2  – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has urged developing countries, including his own, to join rich nations in setting targets to reduce emissions blamed for global warming.

"All participants, including our country, should set a reduction target in accordance with their own emissions of greenhouse gases," Lula said in an interview with Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper published Wednesday.

While he did not specify Brazil’s own goal, he said the world should be able to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60-80 percent from current levels by 2050.

Lula made the remarks ahead of his visit to Japan to attend a session on climate change with leaders of the Group of Eight wealthy nations on the sidelines of their annual summit.

International negotiations on a new climate treaty, which would cover the period after the Kyoto Protocol’s obligations end in 2012, have been bogged down by disagreements between developing nations and rich states.

The United States, the main rich nation to shun Kyoto, argues that any future treaty must involve rapidly growing emerging nations including China and India.

Many nations in the developing bloc say wealthy countries are historically responsible for global warming and should take the lead in reducing emissions.

In the interview, Lula called for Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who will chair the summit, to take the lead in ensuring that poor countries are not treated unfairly in a climate deal.

The Brazilian president also said his country plans to host an international conference in November on use of biofuel, inviting world leaders, researchers and corporate executives.

Brazil is the world’s leading producer of ethanol, which is hailed by advocates for reducing emissions caused by fossil fuels. But critics say ethanol’s popularity has exacerbated a crisis of spiralling food prices by stepping up demand for edible crops.

"When I speak about biofuels, I am not only considering the benefit to Brazil alone," Lula told the newspaper.

"I am considering producing bio-ethanol in Central and South America as well as in Africa and Asia in cooperation with developed countries such as Japan and Britain."


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