Japan pledges $1.8 bln for green projects in Asia
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda pledged 200 billion yen ($1.83 billion) in loans over the next five years for environmental projects in Asia, officials said on Wednesday.
The projects include sewage disposal and sulphur dioxide scrubbing from power plant smoke stacks.
Tokyo also said it was ready to provide up to $10 mln for a World Bank fund aimed at preserving forests, an issue Indonesia will push for at a U.N. meeting in Bali next month to try to find a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.
Japan also plans to launch a satellite by the end of March 2009 that would monitor greenhouse gas emissions and share the data with Asian nations.
Experts say dealing with the effects of climate change will be a major problem for Asia, where greater extremes of weather are expected to cause more intense storms and droughts, while melting of Himalayan glaciers could lead to summer water shortages for tens of millions.
China is expected to overtake the United States as the world's top carbon dioxide polluter and Indonesia might have risen to the No.3 emitter because of deforestation and massive forest fires. India's emissions are also rising quickly.
Japan is among the world's top-five greenhouse gas emitters.
(Reporting by George Nishiyama, writing by Neil Chatterjee, editing by David Fogarty)
($1 = 109.10 Yen)