Japan environment minister won’t give up on carbon pricing

Published 10:41 on March 29, 2016  /  Last updated at 11:28 on March 29, 2016  /  Asia Pacific, Japan  /  No Comments

Japan Environment Minister Tamayo Marukawa on Tuesday released her long-term vision on climate change, opting to include carbon pricing as part of her preferred future policy portfolio despite lingering opposition in other quarters of government.

Japan Environment Minister Tamayo Marukawa on Tuesday released her long-term vision on climate change, opting to include carbon pricing as part of her preferred future policy portfolio despite lingering opposition in other quarters of government.

Marukawa’s vision mostly contained previously announced policies. New elements included a plan to set up 20 demonstration “net-zero emission” areas to establish a model for self-sufficient local energy systems.

The vision also foresaw a role for carbon pricing to help drive down greenhouse gas emissions in Japan.

“The ministry intends to reconfirm its will to engage on this issue,” one well-placed source told Carbon Pulse.

In January, an expert panel advising the ministry on long-term climate policies recommended the government set up an emissions trading scheme and introduce a carbon tax to help the country meet its target of cutting GHG emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

In a draft climate action plan released earlier this month, the government said it would carefully consider setting up an ETS in future, despite pressure from industry to delete the reference to a carbon market.

The Ministry of Environment has supported an ETS and/or a carbon tax for years, and in 2009 was tasked with drawing up rules for a domestic carbon market but the Cabinet pulled the project in 2010 after pressure from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).

METI, backed by most of the nation’s industry lobbies, have successfully kept an ETS off the agenda since.

The Central Environment Council, which acts as an advisory committee for the Ministry of Environment, will discuss Marukawa’s vision before a final version is adopted, though it remains unclear what support it will get from other Cabinet members.

By Stian Reklev – stian@carbon-pulse.com

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