October 8, 2010 / 9:19 AM / in 7 years

Japan revives push for climate bill, outlook unclear

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s government agreed on Friday to resurrect a climate bill calling for an emissions trading system and an environment tax, but it remains unclear if the legislation will be enacted in a divided parliament.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan has said he wants to prioritize passing the bill during an extra parliament session ending on December 3., which will also focus on a proposed supplementary budget to support the fragile economy.

But Kan could face a tough time getting it passed. Opposition parties can block legislation in the upper house and the same bill was shelved earlier this year after parliament ran out of time for debate.

Japan is the world’s fifth-biggest greenhouse gas emitter and its pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 is government policy.

Enacting the bill would make the tough goal legally binding and set a one-year deadline for Japan to design a compulsory emissions trading system. Currently it only has a voluntary market at the national level based on companies’ pledged goals.

The bill also includes a plan for Japan to consider imposing an environment tax from next fiscal year, an aim to boost renewable energy sources to 10 percent of primary energy supply by 2020 from around 3 percent currently and a target to cut emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

In addition to the environment tax and emissions trading scheme, the government has been considering a so-called “feed-in” tariff system for consumers to share the costs electric power firms pay to introduce renewable energy.

Reporting by Risa Maeda; Editing by Nathan Layne and Joseph Radford

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