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Japan climate change plan meets doubts

Japan climate change plan meets doubts
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First Published: Sun, Mar 16 2008. 07 45 PM IST
Updated: Tue, Mar 18 2008. 01 04 AM IST
Chiba City, Japan: Japan’s proposal for cutting greenhouse gasses wasn’t immediately accepted by other nations at climate talks near Tokyo, where delegates doubted the plan could form the basis of a new Kyoto Protocol.
The Japanese approach is “very different” from steps now being taken by Europe to curb emissions, said Jos Delbeke, director of the European Commission’s climate unit, referring to the continent’s emissions trading mechanism.
Japan had proposed a “bottom-up, sectoral approach” in its bid to lead the crafting of a successor to the Kyoto accord, expiring in 2012. European and Indian officials said they doubted the feasibility of the plan and whether it would be accepted by world leaders.
The proposal would have countries set carbon-reduction targets based on estimated volumes of heat-trapped gases their industries can eliminate through conservation measures, according to a document prepared by Japan’s trade ministry.
Ajay Mathur, director general of the Indian power ministry’s energy efficiency bureau, on Saturday said a paucity of data on industrial energy usage meant it was “too early” to support the Japanese plan.
Japan also proposed 21 emission-fighting technologies for implementation by 2030, including coal- and gas-fired power plants that emit almost no carbon dioxide, steel-making processes using hydrogen, and a system to store carbon underground.
Akira Amari, Japan’s trade minister, and environment minister Ichiro Kamoshita co-chaired the three-day summit of officials from the leading industrialized nations and 12 other countries, including Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Korea and South Africa. The conference, in Chiba City, east of Tokyo, were the fourth round of talks dubbed the “G-8 Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development.”
The Kyoto Protocol requires 37 nations to cut emissions by a combined 5.2% from 1990 levels by 2012. A new treaty is expected to be signed in Copenhagen next year.
Officials at the Chiba summit agreed that developed countries must spend more to give developing nations the ability to cut carbon output. One existing method is the Kyoto treaty’s Clean Development Mechanism, or CDM, whereby polluters in developed nations offset harmful gases they emit by investing in projects that cut emissions in developing countries.
Other parties believe more direct investment is needed. The US, UK, Japan and the World Bank are considering setting up a $10 billion (Rs40,500 crore) clean technology fund. Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has pledged $10 billion in aid to developing nations over five years to combat climate change.
“Nations with conflicting interests gathered here,” Japan’s Amari said. “We have the same shared goal, but different approaches to reach the target.”
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First Published: Sun, Mar 16 2008. 07 45 PM IST