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Germany, France lead Paris Agreement; Japan envisions U.S. return to pact

  • November 19, 2017
  • , Yomiuri , p. 3
  • JMH Translation

The 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) decided to accelerate the creation of rules for the Paris climate agreement, an international framework to address global warming. Exerting the greatest influence on the discussions were the core European countries of Germany and France and the world’s biggest greenhouse-gas emitter, China. Calling on member countries, these heavyweights set in motion the trend of opposing U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement of his nation’s withdrawal from the pact.


The U.S.’s backward-looking stance on the Paris climate agreement was clear from the fact that it sent a delegation composed of lower-ranking officials and did not set up a pavilion. The U.S. delegate who spoke at the high-level meeting was not a ministerial-level official but a State Department bureau director-general. The one event sponsored by the United States promoted technologies to cut greenhouse gases by using fossil fuels and nuclear power, but the event was disrupted by protesters calling for the abolition of coal power generation.


Like the United States, Japan was the target of NGOs’ criticism for its policies to increase dependence on coal. Envisioning that the United States will return to the agreement in the future, Japan pushed for a strategy that would not subject the United States to extreme isolation.


The United States actively issued statements during the negotiations and called for transparency in the verification process in developing countries. A high-ranking official from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed concern: “Developed countries agree that the rules should be created in such a way that the United States can return to the agreement. The German and French approach draws attention to the antagonism with the United States and will, on the contrary, make it more difficult for the United States to return.” (Abridged)

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