Monday, September 07, 2009

JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER PRESSES ECO ISSUES

Guardian, UK - Japan's new prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, has promised to make ambitious cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, months before world leaders meet for crucial climate change talks. Hatoyama, who will take office next week, said Japan would seek to reduce CO2 emissions by 25% below 1990 levels by 2020, but said the target would be contingent on a deal involving all major emitters in Copenhagen in December. "We can't stop climate change just by setting our own emissions target," he said at a forum in Tokyo. "Our nation will call on major countries around the world to set aggressive goals." Hatoyama will discuss the initiative, which is far more ambitious than the equivalent 8% cut unveiled by the outgoing government in June, at a UN meeting on climate change in New York this month. Connie Hedegaard, Denmark's minister for climate and energy, described the plan as a bold step forward. "For a long time, everybody has been waiting for everybody else to move in the negotiations. Japan has taken a bold step forward and set an ambitious target. I hope this will inspire other countries to follow suit." The commitment places Japan firmly among countries committed to aggressive CO2 emissions cuts, despite mounting opposition from business and industry groups, which claim the measures will put jobs at risk.