A government panel on global warming launched efforts Friday to find ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent from 1990 levels, in accordance with a convention signed last month at an international conference in Kyoto.The panel, headed by Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and consisting of all members of the Cabinet, aims to work out effective measures to achieve the legally binding goal to be applied between 2008 and 2012, according to officials. “The Cabinet should make its maximum efforts to attain the goal, although it is hard for our nation because we have already achieved the world’s highest level of energy efficiency,” Hashimoto told participants during the first meeting of the panel.The protocol was agreed upon after heated debate at the Third Conference of Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Hashimoto went on to say that the government should drastically revise the Law Concerning the Rational Use of Energy, promote measures to cut the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, seek innovative technologies and boost afforestation projects.The panel agreed that the government will introduce additional incentive measures to encourage the private sector to promote the research and development of new technologies considered useful toward cutting greenhouse gas emissions.Japan will also make greater contributions to the international community by providing financial and technological aid to developing nations, the panel agreed. It was also agreed that the government will boost its campaign to raise awareness of the issue and push the public to review their current lifestyles.Mitsuo Horiuchi, minister for international trade and industry, stressed the need to implement concrete and effective measures to attain the reduction goal. He said his ministry will submit a bill to the coming Diet session to revise the energy conservation law, introducing stricter energy-efficiency standards.
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