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June 17, 2008, Japan - "Panel offers practical steps to cut greenhouse emissions", The Yomiuri Shimbun


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Panel offers practical steps to cut greenhouse emissions.

A government panel looking into measures to combat global warming submitted Monday a package of proposals to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda outlining a range of nationwide efforts for lowering society's greenhouse gas emissions, including the introduction of daylight saving time and turning off lights en masse.

The panel, chaired by Hiroshi Okuda, held a meeting at the Prime Minister's Office and handed Fukuda the conclusions of its discussions over how to minimize emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The government will soon hold a meeting of its global warming prevention team to compile a plan detailing the practical measures that can be taken. The team includes all the Cabinet members and is chaired by the prime minister.

At the panel meeting, Fukuda said, "I'll use these proposals as guidelines when putting together our practical plan for creating a society with low CO2 emissions."

The panel's proposals call for greenhouse gas emissions to be cut by 60 percent to 80 percent from current levels by 2050 as a long-term goal in line with a new policy guideline for preventing global warming announced by Fukuda on June 9.

Concerning the burden involved in achieving the goal, the panel pointed out that any systemic change should be designed bearing in mind that each member of society should shoulder an appropriate share of the costs involved.

The panel highlighted the need to introduce an environment tax and to inject public funds through tax reforms among other measures.

The panel also recommended that daylight saving time--moving the clock an hour forward during summer--be introduced and that nationwide campaigns to turn off lights be launched from time to time.

The panel also expressed strong support for the planned introduction in Japan of carbon trading, though many business leaders are against it. The proposal says, "Discussions should continue during the experimental implementation" of carbon trading.

Concerning a midterm goal to cut emissions between 2020 and 2030, the panel said, "It should be ambitious," demanding the introduction of a sector-based approach--a method that groups together potential emission cuts according to the industrial sector.

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