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Panel starts talks on midterm CO2 target


| Sourced From Japan Times |

A panel of environment, energy and economic experts held its first meeting Tuesday to help the government set a midterm national target for reducing greenhouse gases next year ahead of key U.N. climate change talks in Copenhagen.

A midterm target is crucial not only for Japan but for other economies because it will be the core of U.N. negotiations for a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. The negotiations are scheduled to conclude at the Copenhagen conference in December 2009.

The eight-member panel, headed by former Bank of Japan Gov. Toshihiko Fukui, agreed to steer their discussions based on science, theory and objectivity so they can draw conclusions that will address climate change and energy security while ensuring economic growth.

The panel is scheduled to hold five or six rounds of talks before compiling an interim report around spring or later, a government official said. The panel plans to hold its second meeting by the end of next month.

“We need an integral approach that involves the environment, energy and economics as a way of identifying a target for 2020 or 2030,” Fukui told reporters after the first meeting at the Cabinet Office.

“Japan’s (emissions reduction) plan must be an advanced one,” Fukui said. “We would like to give a good example so we can encourage emerging countries to take action” to combat global warming in partnership with developed countries.

Japan has pledged to slash its emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 60 percent to 80 percent by 2050. But the government has stopped short of unveiling a midterm reduction target, saying it will announce one “at an appropriate time next year.”

According to the schedule, the panel will present the results of its study, including several scenarios with specific reduction targets, to the public.

The government will set Japan’s midterm target after conducting hearings with industry, experts and nongovernmental organizations, and monitoring developments in the U.N. talks for a post-2012 framework.

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