Japan firms log 1st carbon credits on new U.N. system
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan has officially received 8.6 million tonnes of carbon credits since becoming the first country to connect to the U.N.'s new carbon-trading system earlier this week, the Ministry of the Environment said on Friday.
Countries and companies in Europe and Japan have been buying carbon offsets for some time in return for funding clean-energy projects in developing countries under the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
This system is aimed at enabling industrialized nations to stay within their emissions obligations as laid out under the global climate agreement named after Japan's ancient capital.
But all parties have had to wait to have their credits officially transferred to accounts while the U.N. developed a carbon-trading link, called the International Transaction Log (ITL), to track these deals.
The U.N. put the ITL into operation on Wednesday, and Japan became the first Kyoto Protocol signatory to connect to the system, enabling domestic account holders to trade credits.
But Japan's initial log of transactions does not include the government's receipt of credits contracted over the past two years, a ministry official said.
"The initial volume delivered here does not reflect all purchases by Japanese account holders," he said.
Tokyo is acting as gatekeeper for the system in Japan.
The government is also a major emissions credit buyer, using the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) as its agent.
Seventy-six corporations have opened accounts at the national registry for the system including NEDO, Tokyo Electric Power Co, Nippon Steel Corp, Sony Corp and a number of banks and trading companies.
Last year, Japan emitted 1.34 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases, 13 percent more than its Kyoto target of 1.19 billion tonnes, so it is likely to be a big buyer of credits.
In an effort to keep to its Kyoto goal, Japan has said it will use taxpayers' money to buy 100 million tonnes of carbon offsets via the U.N. trading scheme over the five fiscal years starting next April.
Details about the national registry are available on http://www.registry.go.jp/index_e.html
(Reporting by Risa Maeda; Editing by Hugh Lawson)