The announcement made this week was branded ‘the weakest target any country has pledged so far’ by Point Carbon an advisory service for the energy and environment markets.

The goal, an 8% cut from 1990 levels, means Japan trails behind the European Union’s target of 20% under 1990 levels.

By using the 2005 benchmark Japan will effectively gloss over a steep rise in gas emissions from 1990 to 1995.

But, the target would take into account the current dip in emissions predicted by many commentators as a result of the global economic slowdown and already seen in Europe.

However, the EU and the US, unlike the Japanese, have set a target which takes into account cuts made through carbon credit purchases.

Kristian Tangen, senior expert at Point Carbon, said: “Due to low population and economic growth, Japan’s emission growth has been modest in the last few years.

“We expect this to continue towards 2020, which would mean the emissions reductions they will have to achieve will be less than those of the EU, Canada, and probably the US and Australia, depending on what the targets of the two latter will be in the end.

“However, the economic burden on Japan might be higher than the other countries, as Japan aims to achieve the reductions domestically, while the other countries will also use internationally traded carbon credits.”

Luke Walsh

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