Reviving discussions regarding a carbon market to effectively reduce pollution levels may be considered by the Japanese government after the elections for the Upper House of parliament in July. This carbon trading policy will put caps and limits on pollutant emissions and allow companies to trade the emission rights, as is happening now in Europe and New Zealand.
Takashi Hongo, a senior fellow at Mitsui Global Strategic Studies Institute and a delegate for Japan at the United Nations climate talks, said government officials will most likely consider building such a trade market for carbon dioxide emissions credits later this year. Hongo said that with this kind of structure in place, the industries will be effectively limiting fossil fuel use – more effective than taxing them for it – since it would give companies the flexibility to meet their own obligations. Hongo also said that the government has the option to increase tax, but that would most likely be met with opposition. Taxes are considered general government revenue so if it went up, it might not be for purely environmental reasons, but rather to reduce the current deficit.
The discussions about carbon emissions trading started becoming serious in 2010, but Japan took a step back from those plans, as industries claimed that this kind of emission-trading structure would add to costs and affect Japanese companies’ competitiveness against countries such as India and China not bound by these kinds of restrictions. Also for now, the government is focused on stimulating the economy and carbon trading is not on its list of priorities. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has also put off until the end of the year its Basic Energy Plan to feed into the global warming talks that will be held in Warsaw this year.
[ via Business Week ]
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