From: Associated Press
Published March 30, 2005 12:00 AM

Japan Government Panel Approves Proposal to Cut Emissions under Kyoto Protocol

TOKYO — A Japanese government panel on Tuesday approved a preliminary plan that aims to lower emissions from cars, buildings and factories over the next five years to meet targets set by the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.


The proposal promotes the use of energy-saving appliances in homes and offices and low-pollution equipment in plants. It also prioritizes renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, thought to be a key cause of global warming.


Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's Cabinet is expected to vote on the plan after a month of public hearings, said Cabinet Office spokesman Yoichiro Kurokawa.


"There may be a few revisions after the public hearings but they probably will be very minor," Kurokawa said.


Tokyo, one of the protocol's biggest supporters, has promised a 6 percent cut in emissions of greenhouse gases below 1990 levels by 2010.


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The government's proposed plan relies heavily on the carbon dioxide-absorbing effects of forests and tree-planting projects for emissions reductions. Credits for planting forests are allowed by the Kyoto Protocol.


Tokyo has faced stiff opposition from Japanese businesses because of a proposal to impose industrial pollution caps and tax the worst polluters starting as soon as 2006. Under the proposal, companies exceeding their emissions caps could buy the right to pollute through a planned emissions-trading system.


Environmentalists have criticized forest credits and emissions trading, saying they could mask surging carbon dioxide levels.


Source: Associated Press


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