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Japan ‘plans carbon offset scheme with India’

Tokyo (AFP) – Japan is set to offer India a carbon offset scheme that would see Tokyo’s environmental technology used by the rising Asian giant to help reduce its emissions, a report said.

The scheme would see Japanese firms earn carbon credits in return for helping developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, the Nikkei newspaper said in its Monday evening edition, adding India was a likely early partner.

Farmworkers prepare a flooded field for rice-growing as the chimneys of the Kolaghat Thermal Power Plant loom the background in Mecheda, around 85 kms south-west of Kolkata, eastern India on July 26, 2011 © AFP/File Dibyangshu Sarkar

Farmworkers prepare a flooded field for rice-growing as the chimneys of the Kolaghat Thermal Power Plant loom the background in Mecheda, around 85 kms south-west of Kolkata, eastern India on July 26, 2011
© AFP/File Dibyangshu Sarkar

The joint crediting mechanism (JCM) would encourage Japanese firms to participate by allowing them to promote technologies such as energy-efficient furnaces and air-conditioning systems, in developing countries with huge market potential such as India.

The Nikkei report comes as Japan struggles to further cut its greenhouse gas emissions, with businesses claiming many factories, vehicles and household appliances are already fitted with energy-efficient technologies.

It also comes as the latest energy white paper showed Japan is increasingly dependent on imported fossil fuels for power generation, with the public still unwilling to allow nuclear reactors to be switched back after the huge 2011 quake-tsunami disaster that crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Under the mooted joint crediting mechanism (JCM), participating firms would be allowed to count the carbon credits as reductions in their own greenhouse gas emissions or could sell them to the government, the Nikkei said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, who will visit Tokyo next month, will agree to speed up talks on the matter, the newspaper reported.

Japan has already signed JCM agreements with 11 developing countries, including Indonesia, Mongolia and Kenya.

Tokyo hopes carbon credits from the scheme could be used to come closer to its target of reducing Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions by 3.8 percent against the 2005 level.

Japan, which had relied on nuclear for over a quarter of its power, jacked up imports of fossil fuels to keep the lights on after the quake-tsunami disaster forced a shutdown of the country’s reactors.

About 88 percent of Japan’s energy came from fossil fuels in the past fiscal year to March, according to the white paper released Tuesday.

© AFP

Source: Magazine Goodplanet Info

Japan sets new emissions target in setback to UN treaty talks

Japan set a new target for greenhouse gas emissions that critics say will set back United Nations talks for a treaty limiting fossil fuel emissions.

The new target effectively reverses course from the goal set four years ago by allowing a 3.1 per cent increase in emissions from 1990 levels rather than seeking a 25 per cent cut.

“This move by Japan could have a devastating impact on the tone of discussion here in Warsaw,” Naoyuki Yamagishi, an official at WWF Japan, said in a statement at climate talks in Poland in anticipation of Japan’s decision “It could further accelerate the race to the bottom among other developed countries when the world needs decisive and immediate actions to ‘raise’ ambition, not to ‘lower’ ambition.”

The new target, announced today by Minister of the Environment Nobuteru Ishihara in Tokyo, calls for Japan to cut emissions by 3.8 per cent by 2020 compared with 2005 levels. Ministry data shows Japan’s production of greenhouse gases increased 7 per cent by 2005 compared with 1990, the baseline for the government’s previous goal.

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The country’s previous commitment, set in 2009, sought to reduce emissions 25 per cent by 2020 from 1990 levels. The new goal would represent a 3.1 per cent increase from 1990 if that year is used as the starting point, according to Bloomberg calculations.

China has singled out Japan and the European Union for their failures on action against carbon pollution.

Su Wei, China’s lead climate negotiator at the UN talks in Warsaw on Friday, said prior to Ishihara’s announcement that reports indicating Japan would scale back its ambitions were deeply concerning.

“I don’t have any words to describe my dismay at that announcement forthcoming,” Su told reporters in Warsaw on Thursday, speaking of the Japanese announcement.

Japan is at the heart of climate talks in Poland as the world’s third-biggest economy and the host for negotiations in Kyoto in 1997 that resulted in the only treaty limiting emissions.

The new target is predicated on Japan not having any nuclear generating capacity, Ishihara told reporters in Tokyo.

Japan’s 50 operating nuclear reactors are currently offline after the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant disaster in March 2011 forced operators to carry out additional safety checks.

Utilities have switched to thermal power generation to fill the gap which increases carbon dioxide emissions because it relies on traditional fossil fuels such as coal and gas.

Source: Author: The Sunday Morning Herald, Japan sets new emissions target in setback to UN treaty talks, Date: November 15, 2013