KANSAI Close-up

[Columns]Over 5,000 participants

COP3 will be the most important conference on global environmental preservation this century: it will decide targets and measures for the reduction of carbon dioxide, which causes global warming, from the year 2000 onwards, and culminate in the signing of a legally binding international protocol.Over 5,000 people from 190 countries and territories worldwide, including representatives of non-governmental environmental organizations, will participate.The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, adopted in 1992, called for carbon dioxide emissions to be cut to 1990 levels by the year 2000, but it was agreed at COP1, held in Berlin in 1995, that reaching this target would be impossible.It was decided that a new target and reduction measures for the year 2000 and beyond would be agreed upon, and a new protocol signed, at COP3.Kyoto was selected as the site of COP3 this year in Geneva, at COP2.COP3 will be sponsored by the U.N. and the Japanese government.Sukio Iwatare, then director-general of the Environment Agency, requested Kyoto Mayor Yorikane Masumoto to make vigorous efforts, as the host city, to contribute to the prevention of global warming.He added that, in order to enhance the positive mood for encouraging the conference's success, Kyoto should promote a variety of related events, such as an NGO symposium, at the same time.It was against such a background that the COP3 KYOTO '97 Supporting Bureau was formed.Although its main activities remain ahead of it, Kyoto has already moved toward fulfilling its role as envisioned by Iwatare.A parade of low-emission automobiles was featured in the Kyoto Festival in October, and educational corners on global warming are planned to be set up around the city.Kyoto has also opened an Internet home page on environmental issues, and placed public announcements on the prevention of global warming in community ne!wspapers.In addition, various events are planned around the catchphrase, ""The earth's future begins in Kyoto.""