TOKYO // Japan, the world's fifth-largest greenhouse gas emitter, will aim at a 25 per cent cut in emissions by 2020 compared with 1990 levels, the Japanese prime minister-elect Yukio Hatoyama said today. But Mr Hatoyama added that the target, more ambitious than the outgoing government's, was premised on a deal on ambitious goals being agreed by major nations. Mr Hatoyama, who will take office on September 16 after a vote by parliament, made the commitment in a speech to a symposium on climate change.
The outgoing government's 2020 target, announced in June, is equivalent to a cut of 8 per cent below 1990 levels. The new target is part of a more aggressive green policy laid out by Mr Hatoyama's Democratic Party, which is facing resistance from industry over the new goal. Japan's top business group, Keidanren, is expected to lobby against the Democrats' emissions targets while the auto industry lobby has said it is worried about the feasibility of the target.
Japan is under pressure for tougher climate policies after its emissions rose 2.3 per cent to a record in the year to March 2008, putting the country 16 per cent above its Kyoto Protocol target. The Democratic Party has also said a tough 2020 target is needed for Japan to play a bigger role in UN-backed climate talks in Copenhagen in December. The talks will try to work out a new agreement on reducing emissions to succeed the current Kyoto Protocol, the first phase of which ends in 2012.
Industrialised nations are planning average cuts in greenhouse gas emissions of between 10 and 14 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 as part of a new UN climate pact, according to a compilation of national data. To reduce emissions, the party plans to create a domestic emissions trading market with compulsory volume caps on emitters and introduce a "feed-in" tariff for renewable energy to help expand capacity for clean energy sources.
It is also considering a new carbon tax but other campaign pledges such as a plan to eliminate motorway tolls and to end a decades-old surcharge on gasoline have drawn concern from green groups. *Reuters