Carbon cap and trade at risk as Japan considers climate bill
WWF is calling on a high-level Cabinet Member Committee meeting regarding climate change on Thursday to stick with the already outlined absolute emissions reductions of 25 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 agreed under the Copenhagen Accord framework, and with the ‘cap and trade’ scheme outlined as a key mechanism for achieving the target.
The climate bill, to be presented to the full cabinet including Prime Minister Hatoyama on Friday, is being criticized by heavy industry labour unions for possible job loss while some government ministries are promoting a carbon intensity framework for emissions reductions.
Intensity-based emissions trading schemes however seriously undermines the environmental integrity of the bill - absolute emissions would increase with production even if intensity-based targets are achieved.
“If the bill includes "intensity-based" emissions trading schemes then it does not consider the emissions cap that the Japanese government has promised to the Japanese people during the elections and to the world following the Copenhagen Accord,” said Naoyuki Yamagishi, WWF-Japan's Head of Climate Change.
“It should have “absolute-based" emissions trading, which is crucial for the scheme to be called “cap and trade” scheme.”
Japanese civil groups are also calling on the government to drop the conditionality clauses in the new bill that threaten to tie Japanese action on climate change to a successful international agreement which includes all the major economies.
“Japan should not send wrong signals by making its action absolutely conditional to an international agreement,” said Yamagishi. “It will not only jeopardize the credibility of the Japanese target internationally but will also slow down domestic actions.”
“The current language in the bill could be interpreted as Japan doing nothing to reduce emissions if there is no comprehensive international agreement.”
Japan's pledge to cut greenhouse-gas emissions to 25 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 is one of the most ambitious in the world.
Japanese civil society groups are also not wishing to see the climate bill being used as a vehicle for an expansion of nuclear power plants.
They would also like to see feed-tariffs for renewable energy that require power companies to buy all the energy produced from all kinds of sustainable renewable energies and not, as proposed, just surplus power from domestic solar installations.
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