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08 Sep 2009: Japan’s Incoming Premier
Vows Sharp CO2 Cuts — With Caveat

Japan’s recently elected premier, Yukio Hatoyama, has proposed that the country reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent below 1990 levels within 10 years. But Hatoyama, of the center-left Democratic Party, said his proposal is contingent on other industrialized nations setting similarly high greenhouse gas reduction targets. Hatoyama said he would push for such cuts at climate talks this December in Copenhagen. The European Union has promised to reduce CO2 emissions by 20 percent below 1990 levels in the next decade and by 30 percent if other wealthy nations agree to similarly sharp cuts. The incoming premier’s proposal, first made as a campaign pledge, is encountering stiff opposition from Japanese industry, with the country’s largest business federation saying it opposes any cuts bigger than six percent below 1990 levels. Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is reportedly considering placing a carbon tax on gasoline and home heating oil. His proposal reportedly will start at 14 euros ($20) for each ton of CO2 emitted and rise eventually to 100 euros ($143) per ton.

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