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Obama and Hatoyama Pledge 'Success' at Copenhagen Climate Summit

TOKYO, Japan, November 13, 2009 (ENS) – Meeting for the first time on Japanese soil, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and President Barack Obama today committed their governments to “a new era in the global fight against climate change” by shifting to low-carbon growth and achieving “a successful outcome” at the UN climate conference next month.

Prime Minister Hatoyama said, “By 2050, we have set out this goal of an 80 percent reduction” in greenhouse gas emissions. “Both Japan and U.S. have agreed on this, and we want to make COP-15 a success, and we agreed to cooperate towards this end,” he said, referring to the 15th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change that takes place in Copenhagen December 7-18.

There, governments are expected to finalize a deal to limit greenhouse gas emissions that will take effect when the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period expires at the end of 2012.

U.S. President Barack Obama, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama meet in Tokyo. (Photo courtesy Office of the Prime Minister)

“The United States and Japan are determined to engage themselves at all levels to secure this goal,” the two leaders said.

President Obama said, “The United States and Japan share a commitment to developing the clean energy of the future and we’re focused on combating the threat of climate change.” Calling climate an important priority for both nations, Obama said they discussed “how we can work together to pave the way for a successful outcome in Copenhagen next month.”

The two leaders agreed to expand their research and development cooperation “to provide solutions to the challenges of global energy security and climate change.” They will cooperate on smart grid development, carbon capture and storage, advanced nuclear fuel cycle technologies, renewable energy sources, energy efficient buildings, and next generation vehicles.

The Japanese Prime Minister and the U.S. President, who both took office this year, welcomed “the renewed international attention and commitment to achieve the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons and confirm their determination to realize such a world.”

In a joint statement, Hatoyama and Obama affirmed that shifting to low-carbon growth is “indispensable to the health of our planet and will play a central role in reviving the global economy.”

“To this end, our countries aspire to reduce our own emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and endorse a global goal of reducing emissions by 50 percent by that year,” they said jointly, echoing the commitment made by their countries at the G8 Summit in July.

They called on all major economies to take “ambitious concrete actions” specifying “emission reduction targets by developed countries and actions by major developing countries that will significantly reduce their emissions compared to business as usual.”

A “robust regime of reporting and international review” of those actions is indispensible, they said.

They recognized that “critical support [must] be provided for climate mitigation and adaptation efforts among the poor and most vulnerable,” and pledged to “cooperate closely with each other on international negotiations to this end.”

Obama and Hatoyama plan to expand their research and development cooperation “to provide solutions to the challenges of global energy security and climate change.”

Initial areas for joint activities to strengthen their cooperation include:

  • Acceleration of joint activities between national laboratories of the United States and Japan through R&D cooperation, exchanges of information, knowledge and researchers, workshops and conferences, and collaboration on standards research;
  • Establishment of a task force that will evaluate the achievements of existing clean energy projects in Hawaii and Okinawa to enable the islands to be energy independent, including micro-grid projects, and develop activities to help the two islands share experiences and knowledge with each other;
  • Deepening of cooperation in the area of smart grid through such activities as information and experience sharing from demonstration projects, and development of standards;
  • Cooperation on carbon capture and storage including modeling, testing and data sharing for the purpose of prediction and mitigation of the possible risks, and the development of new capture methods, simulation tools and monitoring methods;
  • Strengthened partnership on nuclear energy including on advanced fuel cycle technologies, effective use of existing facilities and enhanced seismic safety technologies, recognizing both countries play an important role in global expansion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy in a manner ensuring nuclear non-proliferation, safety and security;
  • Enhancement of cooperative research, development and deployment activities in additional areas including basic research, renewables, energy efficient buildings, and next generation vehicles;
  • Close cooperation on energy issues and the development of joint projects in multilateral frameworks including the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, the International Energy Agency, the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation, the International Renewable Energy Agency and especially, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, APEC, which Japan chairs in 2010 and the United States in 2011.

This weekend, both President Obama and Prime Minister Hatoyama will attend the APEC meeting in Singapore where they will gather with the leaders of Australia, China, Chile, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The upcoming UN climate conference is on the agenda as the leaders of these major economies work towards the outline of a deal that can be sealed in Copenhagen next month.

In advance of the meeting, APEC issued a statement saying, “Anthropogenic climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world. As APEC’s key response to addressing this challenge, our sustainable growth agenda will include improved access for Environmental Goods and Services (EGS), development of EGS sectors of APEC economies, enhancing energy efficiency and sustainable forest management and rehabilitation.”

Next week, President Obama will travel to Beijing for a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao where climate change again is on the agenda.

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