"Japan Sets Emissions Targets, and No One Seems Pleased"

"TOKYO -- Japan, a major emitter of greenhouse gases and an important player in the global warming debate, announced Wednesday that by 2020 it intended to reduce emissions 15 percent from 2005 levels -- a goal immediately criticized as inadequate by environmentalists and industry officials.

Prime Minister Taro Aso of Japan announced a new target Wednesday that would reduce emissions 15 percent by 2020 from 2005.

Climate-change campaigners have called on Japan to set steep targets to build momentum before global climate talks this year in Copenhagen. A strong commitment by rich countries is seen as crucial to efforts to persuade emerging economic giants like China and India to make emissions reductions.

Japan's new target, announced by Prime Minister Taro Aso in a televised news conference, would put its 2020 emission levels just 8 percent below its 1990 levels. That is not much more, environmentalists say, than the 6 percent cut by 2012 that Tokyo committed to under the Kyoto Protocol created in 1990. Japan has struggled to meet that target; its greenhouse gas emissions have risen 9 percent from 1990 levels."

Hiroko Tabuchi reports for the New York Times June 10, 2009.

Source: NYTimes, 06/11/2009