The government will set a midterm target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 if all major emitters agree with a fair, effective framework, according to the outline of the bill to tackle global warming.
The outline, announced by the Environment Ministry on Friday, also stipulates that until such an agreement is reached, the government will instead focus on its long-term target to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
The bill includes the government's basic environmental measures such as:
-- Creating an emissions quota trading system, under which ceilings for greenhouse gas emissions from large private firms are set by the government, and firms that fail to keep their emissions below the set caps can purchase emission quotas from companies that succeed in controlling their emissions.
-- Considering the introduction of an environment tax to combat global warming, under which the government would levy tax on fossil fuels, from fiscal 2011.
-- Establishing a system under which electric companies purchase electricity generated from renewable energy sources such as solar power at high prices.
The bill also sets a target of increasing domestic energy supply from renewable sources by 10 percent by 2020.
The bill will be approved by the Cabinet as early as this coming Friday, and then be submitted to the Diet.
However, the bill had been discussed at closed-door meetings of senior vice ministers from relevant ministries and others, prompting concerns from some organizations.
The Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo), the Democratic Party of Japan's power base, said the introduction of such basic measures would require a national debate, while three top business organizations including the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) said the government should carefully examine the effects and impact of the measures as a whole.