Japan says can meet Kyoto goals

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan will be able to meet its greenhouse gas emissions limits agreed under the Kyoto Protocol through additional, mainly voluntary, agreements with industry, a government panel said.

The measures will help Japan cut 37 million tonnes or more of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent a year, a joint panel on climate change under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Environment said in a final report approved on Friday.

That revised upwards by 1-2 million tonnes a December estimate of what emissions cuts the new measures could deliver.

The revised estimate would be just enough to cover 22-36 million tonnes of excess carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that Japan needs to cut in the fiscal year beginning in April 2010 to meet its Kyoto targets, the government said.

The 37 million tonnes in annual emissions cuts included 19 million which relied on additional voluntary agreements with various industries.

The additional measures are aimed at enhancing government plans in place since April 2005, which were not enough to meet Japan’s commitments to cut emissions by 6 percent from 1990 levels over the 2008-2012 period.

Japan, the world’s fifth-biggest greenhouse gas producer, cut its emissions by 1.3 percent in the year ended March 2007 to 1.341 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent, but the figure still exceeded its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol by some 155 million tonnes a year.

The rest of the emissions surplus will be cut, for example, by buying carbon emissions offsets from other countries.

Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori, editing by Gerard Wynn