From: Reuters
Published May 15, 2007 12:00 AM

Japan Government Panel To Debate Climate Proposals

TOKYO -- Japan's key economic panel will discuss private-sector proposals on tackling climate change on Tuesday but will not make them public because of the topic's sensitivity ahead of next month's G8 summit, Economics Minister Hiroko Ota said on Tuesday.

The proposals by the panel's private-sector members will serve as a basis for discussions at the meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, Ota told a news conference. "We decided to put (climate change) on today's agenda because it is a very important theme and needs to be discussed broadly within the government and private-sector members of the council," Ota said.

"The discussions will offer important material" for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when he visits Germany for the summit of the Group of Eight nations, she said.

Japanese media reports said last week the government would propose at the summit a plan to halve global greenhouse gas emissions from current levels by 2050.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki, the government's top spokesman, said later that nothing had been decided.

Foreign Minister Taro Aso and Environment Minister Masatoshi Wakabayashi will join the meeting of the council, which mostly consists of economic ministers such as Ota and Finance Minister Koji Omi.

The leaders of Britain, the United States, Russia, Canada, Japan, Italy and France will attend the summit hosted by Germany in the resort town of Heiligendamm from June 6-8.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is determined to push through wide-ranging pledges of global action on climate warming and energy security, but is meeting strong resistance from the United States, supported by Canada.

Japan aims to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 6 percent in the 2008-2012 period from 1990 levels under the United Nations-led Kyoto Protocol to help slow global warming.

But its actual emissions rose 0.6 percent in the year to March 2006, leaving it 14 percent above the Kyoto goal.

Japan has repeatedly said it will not let the Kyoto Protocol lapse without a framework to succeed it after its 2012 expiry, but it has shied away from any commitments of its own, although European nations have set tough targets.

Source: Reuters

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