New Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said the world’s richest nations must lead others in reducing greenhouse-gas pollution that scientists blame for global warming.
Developed countries such as Japan and the US "need to take the lead in emissions reductions efforts," Hatoyama told world leaders at a United Nations summit on climate change in New York.
The new leader repeated his pledge to reduce Japan's heat-trapping emissions 25 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels. He also said his country should "positively commit itself to setting a long-term reduction target."
About 190 countries are set to meet at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen in December to try to craft a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, whose emissions limits expire in 2012.
Hatoyama's Democratic Party of Japan won a landslide victory Aug. 30. He has promised a 25 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions on the proviso that other major emitters agree on mid-term targets at the Copenhagen meeting. The EU has also made a conditional promise of a reduction as great as 30 percent.
The UN says a cut of between 25 percent and 40 percent is necessary to slow global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since industrialization began in the 1800s.
Under the Kyoto Protocol, Japan promised to trim emissions of the greenhouse gases by 6 percent from the 1990 levels by 2012. In fact they rose 8.7 percent in the year ended March 2008.