March 24, 2008 / 10:06 AM / 10 years ago

Japan sees 2005 as "fair" post-Kyoto base year

<p>High rise buildings are seen against a smoggy sky in Tokyo November 5, 2007. REUTERS/Toru Hanai</p>

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan thinks 2005 would be a “fair” base year for calculating cuts in greenhouse gas emissions under a post-Kyoto climate pact, a senior trade and industry official said on Monday.

Japan has rejected the idea of keeping 1990 as the base year for emissions cuts for a new global pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol after 2012, saying it was unfair to Japanese industry, which had made energy efficiency investments two decades ago.

But Tokyo had not specified what the new base year should be.

Takao Kitabata, vice minister at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) told a news conference that 2005 would be “fair”, a spokesman for the ministry said.

The proposed change in the base year would likely be opposed by the European Union, which has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels.

About 190 countries agreed at U.N.-led talks in Bali last year to launch two-year negotiations on a replacement for Kyoto, which binds only rich nations to emissions cuts by an average of five percent between 2008 and 2012 from 1990 levels.

All nations would be bound under Kyoto’s successor and under the “Bali roadmap,” nations recognized that deep cuts in global emissions were needed. But there are wide gaps over the size of binding targets and the base year for such targets.

Reporting by Linda Sieg; Editing by Chris Gallagher

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