Japan forms voluntary CO2 market

Japan has launched a voluntary carbon market based on companies' pledged emissions cuts, Reuters reported. The government hopes that thousands of businesses will sign up to what could become a forerunner of a mandatory cap-and-trade scheme.


The scheme, which begins next year, is expected to be the country’s broadest emissions market. But some environmentalists said it still fell short of what Japan needed to make deep emissions cuts and that it could backfire.


The trial over-the-counter market is aimed at accelerating further cuts in the private sector, via new technologies, to save energy and to reduce or remove emissions from the atmosphere, said environment minister Tetsuo Saito. "It’s based on a voluntary [cap] because we’d like to see as many companies as possible joining in as we start," he said. "But we’re aiming to make it a cap-and-trade scheme eventually."


Japan — the world’s fifth-largest greenhouse-gas emitter — has been reluctant to impose a mandatory cap on companies’ emissions because of past efforts by industry to clean up and become more efficient. The country is one of 37 industrialised nations bound under the Kyoto Protocol to meet emissions curbs from 2008 to 2012, when the agreement’s first phase ends.


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