Japan's carbon trade targets to be voluntary: report
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese companies taking part in a trial carbon trading system to be launched next month will work to voluntary reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions, rather than mandatory ones, a newspaper reported on Monday.
The domestic scheme will allow companies exceeding their target to buy credits from companies below their limit, but steer clear of binding limits that have been opposed by big emitters such as steelmakers.
Targets will be set either as a company's total volume of emissions, or as the amount of emissions per unit of production, the Asahi Shimbun said, citing a draft of a government plan to be presented to an advisory panel this week.
The latter option would cater to worries from big industries that absolute targets alone would hurt growth and competition with rivals overseas.
The trial scheme, proposed by outgoing Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in June, will also allow companies to trade credits from the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism which fund clean-energy projects in developing countries.
Japan has until now encouraged voluntary reduction pledges from industries, avoiding a European Union-style cap-and-trade system that binds emitters to mandatory limits.
Pressure has been growing for a national trading scheme, with New Zealand set to introduce emissions trading from 2009 and Canada set to launch a market in 2010.
Japan is one of the world's most energy-efficient countries after years of spending by manufacturers to save energy, but efforts from offices and households to cut emissions have lagged.
(Reporting by Chisa Fujioka; Editing by David Fox)