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UN chief urges Japan to lead fight on climate change

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged Japan Sunday to take a greater lead in the fight against climate change, as the nation prepares to host next month's Group of Eight summit.

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In a speech at Kyoto University, Ban said Japan, the world's second largest economy and a leader in green technology, had a "moral and political responsibility" to play a bigger role in tackling climate change.

Japan should share its environmental technology with other nations to help reduce their levels of greenhouse gases which cause climate change, as well as help setup active trading schemes for carbon emissions, Ban said.

"Japan can play a leadership role in realizing the potentials of these market-based mechanisms, now and in the future," Ban said in Kyoto, where the landmark protocol on combating greenhouse gases was forged.

"For technology, Japan has been a leading country in technological innovation," he said, encouraging Japanese businesses to share their knowledge and skills with the rest of the world.

"Therefore, you have a political and moral responsibility to do that."

"As the number two economic power, Japan has again moral and political responsibility in actively participating in financial mechanisms" to fight climate change.

The UN chief gave the address ahead of the G8 summit in the northern Japanese resort town of Toyako from July 7-9 when climate change is set to be among the top issues on the agenda.

On the eve of his departure on the two-week, three-nation Asian tour, Ban said he would press the G8 leaders at their summit to tackle the world food crisis, climate change and the flagging fight against global poverty.

Ban will join the G8 leaders during the outreach sections of the meet.

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, whom Ban will meet on Monday, previously said the summit will not set a mid-term goal on slashing emissions, while stressing the need to agree on some goal on climate change.

Ban called on world leaders to work harder and closely to tackle the issue, saying political will was lacking, not technology and resources.

"This global (climate) change requires global response. That is why I have been trying to galvanize political will," he said, adding that technologies are available to cut global emissions by half by 2050.

"We have resources. We have technologies. But largely lacking is the political will at the level of leaders."

Ban reminded his audience of the importance of a 2007 agreement reached in Bali, which drafted an action plan that set a 2009 deadline for a new treaty to cut greenhouse gas emissions after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

Officials will aim to conclude the ambitious and complex pact in December 2009 in Copenhagen.

He also praised Japan's aim to try to slash its own emission levels.

"Japan has indicated that it might reduce emissions by 14 percent from the current level by the year 2020. Today, I call on Japan to provide further leadership in developing an even more far reaching proposal," said Ban.

Ban will remain in Japan until July 1, meeting Fukuda, Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura and Emperor Akihito as part of his visit.

He will then visit China and South Korea before returning to Japan for the summit.
 

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