Demonstrators Call for Kyoto Protocol to Continue

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Environmental activists rally in Cancun as they try to keep the Kyoto Protocol alive. Japan says it will not renew its commitment of cutting gas emissions.

Environmental groups and NGO's on Thursday rallied in Cancun to show support for the Kyoto Protocol as Japan announced it would not extend its commitment to the agreement past 2012.

[Masako Konishi, Activist]:
"...Japan is moving away and if Japan does that, it upsets a lot of developing countries and really blocks the negotiations here in Cancun. Japan needs to stay in the Kyoto Protocol so it can show leadership, that it's really, really serious about tackling global climate change."

Japan said it will not extend cutting emissions unless other big emitters like the U.S. and China also join in.

The European Union and other Kyoto backers also want others to join in beyond 2012.

[Peter Wittoeck, EU Negotiator]:
"We are willing to consider to go into a second commitment period, but as I said also, if it is only the European Union in such a second commitment period, without the rest of the world, if you like, to be covered also by a legally binding outcome that can ensure that actions will be undertaken, then you have no solution for the climate problem."

Nearly 200 nations gathered in Cancun for U.N. climate talks that are trying to draft a modest package to help avert floods, droughts, heat waves and rising seas.

The ultimate goal of the process is to extend the present Kyoto Protocol, which controls the greenhouse gas emissions of all industrialized countries except the U.S. which didn't ratify the pact.

Japan wants to register all post-2012 cuts in a new deal, building on a non-binding Copenhagen Accord agreed last year by 140 nations accounting for 80 percent of emissions.

Kyoto obliges its members to cut emissions by an average 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012.

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