An expert panel advising Japan’s Ministry of Environment on long-term climate policies has recommended the government set up an emissions trading scheme and introduce a tax on carbon emissions to help the country meet its target of cutting GHG emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, the Japan Times reported.
The panel, led by Science Council of Japan President Takashi Onishi, submitted a list of recommended policies to the ministry on Saturday, although the document has yet to be released publicly.
According to the Japan Times, the panel also said Japan should fit fossil-fuelled power plants with CCS equipment.
Japan will release a new climate policy action plan this spring, based on input from expert panels from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Environment.
A government statement in December said both panels would carefully consider whether an ETS would be an appropriate policy for Japan.
Saturday’s panel recommendation – which was from a different panel than the one that will feed into the upcoming climate action plan – is likely to firm up the Ministry of Environment’s support for an ETS.
But the powerful METI and most Japanese industry lobbies oppose carbon trading and other strict CO2 regulations, and observers doubt the Abe administration will seriously consider an ETS at this stage.
“The Ministry of Environment is putting more emphasis on a carbon tax these days because it has not been successful with emissions trading before. Another reason is that a tax can bring ample revenue. The ministry is trying to make it revenue neutral to make it attractive to both the Ministry of Finance and the general public,” one observer who wished to remain anonymous told Carbon Pulse.
“Having said that, it is obvious that industry pressure groups will oppose this fiercely, so the odds are very small for this to go through under the current administration, which is controlled by industry groups and METI,” the source added.
Japan has pledged to cut emissions to 26% below 2013 levels by 2030.
By Stian Reklev – firstname.lastname@example.org