Japan begins to take climate change seriously

In the last few weeks, Japan has spent just under $1bn buying carbon emission rights from Ukraine and the Czech Republic, as it scrambles to meet its Kyoto obligations.

Japan agreed at Kyoto to cut its CO2 emissions by 6% from 1990 levels by 2013. Instead, its emissions are rising annually – they rose 2.3% in the year to March 2008.

It has now convened a board of scientists to suggest ways forward to prime minister Taro Aso. It has put forward five proposals, ranging from a 25% cut in 1990 levels by 2020, to a 4% increase.

Last week,  the government also launched its own tentative efforts at an EU style cap and trade domestic market:

The market’s compliance participants include 202 major emitters such as utility and steel companies, a step forward from its smaller predecessor, called J-VETS market.

 

But a government survey of applicants showed only 20 percent of the respondents said they would take part in trading, with 40 percent saying they didn’t know. The remaining 40 percent said they had no immediate plan to trade any.