Address by H.E. Mr. Taro Aso, Prime Minister of Japan
at the Informal Gathering of World Economic Leaders on
"The Climate Change Puzzle: Assembling the Pieces"

31 January 2009
Davos, Switzerland


Thank you, Chairman, for being very nice.

Now, this year, the year 2009, will be the one of "`make` or `break`." Are we going to `make` it, or are we going to `break` it? Which side are we on? We are at such a crossroads of a very, very historic nature. My friends and colleagues, let's put pressure, strong pressure, on each other, on you and me, for the completion of the Copenhagen process.

Take, for a moment, a look at the Kyoto Protocol. It is a half-way house, hence short of effect, because the Kyoto Protocol covers just 30% of the world-wide emission. For me, Kyoto is about refinement and everlasting beauty. The Kyoto process has not lived up to its brand name.

Why? What was the root cause for its under-achievement? The reason is, there was not an esprit de corps at all. So here today, I am asking you to join me, first to call President Barack Obama of the United States to come and jump on board. "Welcome America!" I will say, "we have been waiting for you for quite some time." I for one will do whatever it takes to work closely with him on this matter and others. Let me also ask you to join me in calling on President Hu Jintao of the PRC to join us on board, to make the Post-Kyoto framework all inclusive with all the big emitters, developed and developing, joining to become responsible partners. And I am sure the Europeans will continue to be committed.

Last year, at Hokkaido-Toyako, Japan at the G8 meeting my country hosted, we reached a milestone, an important one indeed. The goal we set is to reduce at least by half the global emission by the year 2050. We reached an agreement also to share that goal with the member nations of the UNF-Triple C.

This is no small matter. Yet a milestone is there to be stepped over for us to go beyond it. Down the road, those of us developed should lead the way in making promises to cut emissions. For fairness, some of those developing nations, if their emissions are on the rapid rise, should commit themselves in curbing the rise in a bold fashion.

Of vital importance will be to revisit the principle that this being our problem. We must all advance, each in its capacity and responsibility, in an utmost, yet equitable fashion. As for me, I will announce, by this June, the mid-term goal of Japan, considering environment, economy and energy, all in one, and based on scientific analyses. All of us will be better off if we can use all the power to set the train in motion heading for Copenhagen.

Let me give you an example, which is about Japan's initiative called Cool Earth Partnership. In that program, we are helping the developing nations tackle the challenge of climate change while helping to build their good governance as well. Or, if you take a look at the Pacific, Tuvalu, the great island nation, is gradually losing its dry shores. My government is lending hands to them. Those of us who surround the Pacific should join forces.

Now, we are in an era of pessimism. Some will go on to say that with the economy going downhill, it will be difficult for the international community to tackle climate change as it will generate little money. Nothing could be farther from the truth. My country is a case in point. Take the hybrid car, that's with battery and gas. It's among the best selling in Japan. Take also the air conditioners whose power efficiency is much greater now thanks to the technologies. Japan can grow by growing those technologies that have made the nation already among the best achievers of carbon efficiency. I am a big believer that we can both grow and emit less with the help of the technologies new and still untapped. Of late, in preparation in my country is a new chart, mapping where the new technologies are, the ones that are strategically important. Over the next 20 to 25 years, the Japanese will be doing a lot on innovation for the solar power technologies, brand new battery technologies and the nano-technology, that's the backbone of emerging technologies.

Japan should pride itself as becoming a center of excellence where great minds and brains come together. With the US its ally and China its close neighbor, my country could work with both of them. Once again to President Obama, I should urge that Japan and America work together on the cutting-edge technologies like fuel cell, super conductivity and so on. To the Chinese, the Japanese have been saying that you come over here, take a look at how the Japanese have succeeded in reducing toxic waste and environmental damages. Much, much more, it is obvious that Japan and China can do together.

With that positive note, I should perhaps now finish.

Let's move on together.

Thank you very much.

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