JCP calls for an effective system to cut CO2

The Kyoto Protocol took effect on January 26, paving the way for reducing greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide emitted mainly by industrialized countries. The Japanese government is now preparing a plan to be approved by the Cabinet by the end of May to achieve its numerical goal. At issue is how to deal with the private and public sectors, which are responsible for 80 percent of the emission of greenhouse gases, Akahata on March 22 reported.

The Kyoto Protocol requires the industrialized countries to reduce greenhouse gases by 5.2 percent by the year 2012 from 1990, and six percent for Japan.

The European Union and individual countries like Britain and Germany are making steady progress in their gas-cutting commitment. Meanwhile, Japan increased emissions by eight percent, and is now required to cut 14 percent in total.

The Japanese government's measures have focused on energy-saving and the use of alternative energy sources, including nuclear power and forest resources utilization, as well as emission trading (Kyoto Mechanism), and have left private sector problems to corporate voluntary efforts.

The Japan Business Federation is cautious about regulatory measures being taken. "The government should never take any measure to put off business vitality and morale for voluntarily addressing the issue," it says.

At the House of Councilors Environment Committee meeting on March 15, the discussion focused on individual persons' efforts to cut CO2 emissions.

It is certainly true that efforts by individual persons or households are important, but at the same time it is necessary to establish effective measures to obligate industrial circles to sufficiently reduce greenhouse gases in order to achieve the country's numerical target. The only representative to point this out in the committee meeting was Ichida Tadayoshi, Japanese Communist Party Secretariat head.

Citing cases of Germany, England, and the Netherlands, Ichida pressed the government to learn from them when making the Japanese plan to reach the goal.

In Germany, he said, the government and the private sector agreed in November 2000 to set a goal to cut 35 percent of emissions as a whole by 2012, compared to 1990. Each industrial group also set its own goals. Furthermore, in order to secure transparency, an independent organization is to monitor the implementation process. In England and Holland, Ichida added, governments and industrial circles are cooperating with each other to achieve their goals.

In making its plan, Japan needs to introduce an effective system that sets the total amount of reduction of gases, makes agreement with local governments as well as each industry group or business entity, and publishes progress reports. (end)

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