Japan Postpones Carbon Emissions Trading Plan

Japan’s national cap-and-trade plan, due to go into effect in 2013, has been postponed or even scrapped because of intense lobbying by powerful business interests and because the measure has yet to make headway in other key countries.

Business interests are against the plan because it would put them at a disadvantage compared to peers operating in countries without such regulations. They warned Japan would lose jobs because of this one-sided competition.

Japan points to Australia and the US – countries that haven’t been able to pass similar plans because of strong opposition. South Korea also delayed it’s plan, which is supposed to start in February.

Koichiro Gemba, National Strategy Minister of Japan, says the plan hasn’t been scrapped, but he no longer believes that forcing companies to accept allocated emission caps would work in Japan as it does in in Europe.

Japan is 5th largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world. It has pledged to cut emissions 25% from 1990 levels by 2020, and 30% by 2030, one of the most ambitious goals in the world. 

Among the country’s plans to reduce emissions are a carbon tax that goes into effect in October, significantly  increase renewable energy, and transfer clean energy technologies to developing nations in exchange for offsets.

Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions dropped 5.7% in 2010, the second year they declined because of the recession.  

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