Japan to ratify Kyoto Protocol

As it braces itself for the World Cup, Japan is also going to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, on 4 June, Environment Minister Hiroshi Oki has announced, following a debate in the House of Representatives. The statement has drawn a mixed response from industry.


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Under the agreement, Japan will have to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 6% of 1990 levels by 2008-2012. However, the country’s greenhouse gas emissions rose to 6.8% above 1990 levels in 1999, and by 2010 is expected to be 7.4% above 1990 levels, Japanese media reports. A debate on ratification will now be held by the House of Councillors.

In order to enter into force, 55 nations producing 55% of the global carbon dioxide emissions need to ratify. As of 6 May, 54 countries had ratified the Protocol. However, these countries represent only 2.4% of the world’s anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

Industry’s response has been mixed, with the Chairman of the Japan Federation of Employers’ Associations welcoming the move, but calling for the US to be brought back on board. However, steel and iron manufacturers are against ratification, with the head of the Nippon Steel Corporation expressing disappointment at the rapid speed at which the lower house agreed to the Protocol. Other industry organisations are expressing doubts that Japan will be able to achieve its Kyoto targets.

In March, edie found that implementation of the Kyoto Protocol was still uncertain (see related story).

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