Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Good news from Tokyo

Risa Maeda over at Reuters has done a really terrific job with a story that other media here seems to have missed: Tokyo aims to take a major step in meeting its pollution-reducing target by revising an emissions cutting bill. This is news that ought to get much more attention in Japan and around the world:

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will propose to the city assembly next month revising a bill to limit greenhouse gas emissions from big offices and factories in five years from April 2010. If passed it will enable the capital to become a pioneer in Japan by applying a mandatory cap-and-trade scheme of emissions on individual firms.

Japan's central government has been struggling to decide how to curb emissions beyond the current voluntary pledges by major industries, and whether to introduce a carbon trading scheme like the one in Europe.

"The new bill will make Tokyo an advanced environmentally-friendly city," said Satoshi Yamashita, director at Tokyo's environmental policy planning section.

"We understand that assembly members in general agree with a plan to cap emissions of major polluters and also with a trading scheme of emissions... We're hoping the bill will be passed in the next regular session starting in June," he said.

Even if it is not passed, the bill will continue to be discussed in the following sessions later this year, he said. It is a necessary step for Tokyo to achieve its plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by fiscal 2020/21 from 2000/01, Yamashita added.

The target is much tougher than the central government's commitment under the Kyoto Protocol, the U.N. led global climate pact, to cut emissions by 6 percent on average from 1990 levels by the 2008-2012 period.

An emission cap will be imposed on 1,300 Tokyo-based offices and factories, based on their average annual emissions in three years from April 2005, and taking into account of existing efforts of energy conservation.

The emissions from the 1,300 firms cover 20 percent of Tokyo's emissions in the fiscal year started in April 2005.

The same bill, in place since fiscal 2000/01, imposed compulsory steps to clean up emissions from diesel-burning vehicles from fiscal 2004/05, a rarity in Japan where the central government usually takes a lead in industry policy.

Japan's biggest city with 12.8 million residents, Tokyo was responsible for 5 percent of the nation's total emissions in fiscal 2005/06. The ratio is far less than that of other prefectures, where factories, steel makers and electric power utilities are located.

Reuters: Tokyo to propose cap-and-trade emissions plan

If this revision to Tokyo’s metropolitan laws goes through, it will be an important first: we will be the first city to impose mandatory cap-and-trade limits on individual industrial firms. These rules would cut greenhouse emissions from the metropolitan area by 25% by 2021, well in excess of the 6% mandated country-wide for Japan by the Kyoto Protocol agreement.

Read more about cities and climate change on the C40 website. The next C40 conference on large cities and climate change will be held in Seoul, South Korea in 2009. Here is more about C40, an initiative that started in 2005 to get large cities to take action and to cooperate on reducing climate emissions.


K & S said...

Interesting...there was also this article I read today here about Tokyoites.

Marie-Louise said...

Mycket intressant. Det här har jag tittat en del på sen jag kom hit!

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