Japan eyes technology upgrades to halve emissions
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan plans to focus on its efforts to improve 21 technologies to help the world halve greenhouse gases by 2050, a trade ministry official said on Wednesday.
The technologies that need to be improved to combat global warming include coal-fired power generation, power generation using natural gas, solar power, vehicles powered by fuel cells or biofuels, and hydrogen-based steelmaking, the official said.
Without the envisaged innovative technologies, global greenhouse gas emissions could rise to up to 60 billion tonnes in 2050 from about 27 billion tonnes in 2005, he said.
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on Tuesday launched a panel of experts on environmental issues, nominating former Japan Business Federation chairman Hiroshi Okuda to head the panel.
Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe proposed last year a global target to halve greenhouse gases by 2050.
The target was shrugged off as too vague and lacking teeth without binding targets.
Analysts say Japan is pushing to reassert its leadership on climate change issues ahead of the Group of Eight industrialized nations meeting this summer that Fukuda will chair, and where global warming will be a key issue.
Because the current global deal for fighting climate change carries the name of Japan's ancient cultural capital, Kyoto, the prospect of failure is particularly embarrassing for Tokyo.
Nor would a country famous for its efficiency, and high-tech "green" products such as the Prius hybrid car, relish the idea of becoming an international emissions pariah.
But Japan, the world's fifth largest greenhouse gas emitter, has been lagging its Kyoto Protocol commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent from 1990 levels over the 2008-2012 period.
(Reporting by Teruaki Ueno; Editing by David Fogarty)