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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Emissions trading test run by fall: Fukuda

Staff writer

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda unveiled his new climate change initiative Monday, including an "experimental" debut of greenhouse gas emissions trading in Japan starting this fall, and also voiced his support for introduction of daylight saving time.

During a speech at the Japan National Press Club, Fukuda also said Japan will aim to cut its emissions by 60 percent to 80 percent from the current level by 2050.

But as for Japan's medium-term reduction goals, Fukuda only said he would reveal the target sometime next year. He added, however, that recent studies show it would be possible for Japan to cut its emissions by 14 percent by 2020 — equivalent to the target set by the European Union.

The announcement was part of Fukuda's effort to show leadership as host of next month's Group of Eight summit in Toyako, Hokkaido, where international measures against climate change will be high on the agenda.

"Global warming is not only Japan's problem — it is a borderless issue of the Earth," Fukuda said. "We must take leadership to (create) a 'low-carbon society' for future generations."

During last year's G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proposed halving the world's total greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Fukuda said he wants Japan to continue to be a leader of energy-saving nations and promised to reach the Kyoto Protocol goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 6 percent below 1990 levels by 2012 and will aim for an even greater reduction by 2020.

According to the Environment Ministry, Japan emitted 1.34 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases in fiscal 2006 — a 1.3 percent decrease from 2005. The number, however, is still above the 1.26 billion metric tons emitted in 1990.

To achieve the reduction targets, Fukuda said he will seek support from other countries on the sectoral approach to promote optimal energy use within each industrial sector.

"A framework that not only the EU or our nation but every (country), including other major emitters, is indispensable for the world to move" beyond the peaking of greenhouse gas emissions, Fukuda said.

"I will negotiate tenaciously to reach an international consensus on a fair and just rule that everyone can agree to, on the assumption that advanced countries will contribute more to the goals than developing nations."

Japan will donate $1.2 billion to a new multinational fund that it, the United States and Britain plan to establish to assist developing countries in taking measures against climate change.

In emissions trading, countries put a cap on emissions by their companies and allow trading of surplus emissions rights. The cap-and-trade system has already been introduced in the EU.

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The Japan Times

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