Japan’s PM Suga instructs study on carbon pricing to reduce emissions

Yoshihide Suga. PHOTO: REUTERS. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

TOKYO, Dec 21, 2020, Kyodo. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Monday instructed the industry and environment ministers to look into the feasibility of introducing a “carbon pricing” scheme in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, The Mainichi reported.

Suga has vowed to make Japan a net zero emitter of carbon dioxide by 2050, and it is hoped that putting a price on emissions will encourage businesses and households to adjust their energy consumption patterns in line with the goal.

“This is a major step forward. We hope to compile the study outcome within next year,” Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi told reporters.

Industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said he has been instructed to work with the Environment Ministry to study the scheme “toward 2050.”

Carbon pricing can involve the use of a carbon tax or emissions trading system and credit mechanisms. The market-based scheme offering cost incentives has already been introduced in the European Union as well as some U.S. states.

In Japan, Tokyo and Saitama prefectures have introduced emissions trading, but whether such carbon pricing will spread across the country remains unclear as some in the business sector fear it could impact their profitability.

The Environment Ministry is pinning its hopes on carbon pricing as a way to help Japan slash its greenhouse gas emissions. Koizumi has indicated he plans to resume expert panel meetings on the topic from early next year after they were suspended in August last year.

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