Japan’s carbon cuts may include offsets

Japan’s target for a 25 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 could include purchases of carbon credits from abroad, the country’s new environment minister said on Thursday.

“I’d like to reiterate our party’s stance that we could use measures including the Kyoto mechanism,” Sakihito Ozawa, told a news conference, referring to a scheme to supplement domestic efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

This Reuters story is not terribly surprising.  The country’s new target was going to require a lot of effort (see “Japan’s new prime minister promises to slash CO2 25% below 1990 levels by 2020 “” with domestic emissions trading, clean energy subsidies“).  That’s especially true given that Japan is some 10% above 1990 levels as of last year.  No doubt that’s one reason Japan had already made the climate pledge conditional on China, India.

Still, it’s not like Americans can criticize the Japanese, given our too weak target (see “EIA stunner: By year’s end, we’ll be 8.5% below 2005 levels of CO2 “” halfway to climate bill’s 2020 target“).  Here’s more:

The new government is currently working to cut emissions domestically and by investing in clean energy projects abroad which generate credits to offset emissions. It is also buying surplus emissions rights from other industrialized countries.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama last week pledged to forge ahead with the target to slash emissions despite resistance from industries worried about the impact on the economy.

He has said the target, much tougher than that of the previous government defeated in an election last month, is needed for Japan to play a bigger negotiating role in U.N.-backed climate talks in Copenhagen in December.

The talks will try to work out a new agreement on reducing emissions to succeed the current Kyoto Protocol, the first phase of which ends in 2012.

Ozawa reiterated Hatoyama’s stance that Japan’s new target also hinged on a deal on goals being agreed by major emitters.

But he declined to give details on how Japan would try to meet the target, including a plan to launch a domestic emissions trading market with compulsory volume caps on emitters.

Japan, the world’s fifth biggest emitter, is under pressure for tougher climate policies after its emissions rose 2.3 percent to a record in the year to March 2008, putting the country 16 percent above its Kyoto Protocol target [of a 6% cut from 1990 levels].

The new energy, trade and industry minister Masayuki Naoshima told a separate news conference that the new emissions reduction target may also include domestic forest conservation.

This is one more reason Copenhagen needs to clean up the Clean Development Mechanism.

3 Responses to Japan’s carbon cuts may include offsets

  1. John McCormick says:


    “Japan’s carbon cuts…” is not the lead story today.

    Page A16 of today’s Washington Post has a half page add titled “CO2 is Green”…..plants and animals need CO2; life on earth needs CO2. Read it. You will be outraged,disgusted. I am sure.

    I just cancelled my subscription of more than 30 years duration and any intelligent reader will do the same.

    The Washington Post is a ‘whore newspaper’. It took the fee and printed this ad because the writer “has the right to express an opinion”.

    How about expressing any opinion the writer is willing to pay to print?

    Will the Post take money from someone who wants to describe, in a half page ad, that Jews murdered Jesus; that astronauts never landed on the moon; that the Bush Administration was behind the World Trade Towers massacre?

    Responsible journalism starts with the newspaper’s editors and they are hungry for money and care nothing about intellectual honesty and rationale behavior.

    The Washington Post prostituted its label. STOP THE PRESSES!

  2. paulm says:

    What a great project! Bill Gates can you do better?

    Meeting India’s tree planting guru

    His campaign to encourage people to plant trees effectively addresses two burning issues of the world: global warming and shrinking job opportunities.

    300,000 villagers from over 7,500 villages in northern Bihar to engage in a mass tree planting ceremony.

    In doing so the agriculture graduate from Bangalore has provided “sustainable employment” to people living below the poverty line in Bihar.

  3. Phillip Huggan says:

    Tree planting is the massive middle-class creating win-win in the developing world that home retrofits are in the the developed world.
    In the USA Chestnut trees are ready to be planted but they are worried about insects or pests that took out the last natural swath of Chestnuts so are waiting for resistant strains next decade. With more pests and fires due this makes me wonder if planning for tree planting will be more like rejigging an annual flu vaccine rather than multi-decade land-use planning.
    I assume the thinking is planting a mosiac of tree species will hedge the loss of an entire forest, if winds don’t shift. In Canada the forestry university cancelled some forestry courses since MPB wiped out the coniferous forest out west. They wanted to teach what they should do now, but I don’t think they know what should be the new forestry paradigm. Should be trivially easy to Blitzkrieg some decidious forests over the next two decades but if there is a latent fossil fuel counter, if even GMO forests only last for years, gonna need robo-planters or something.

    If 3rd world planters earn enough this could rival microfinance.