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Liquefied natural gas should be used in preference to coal at power plants in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, an advisory panel to the industry minister recommended Thursday in a report on the nation’s long-term energy policy.

As measures to promote the more expensive LNG, the report suggests studying the imposition of environmental taxes, along with subsidies and regulations.

The report, compiled by the Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy, also calls for further facilitating energy-saving efforts and renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power.

Since April 2000, the panel has been examining the nation’s 10-year policy to reduce emissions of energy-oriented carbon dioxide to 1990 levels — 287 million tons — by 2010, as set out under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

Under the protocol, Japan is required to reduce its emissions of six global-warming gases by 6 percent, based on 1990 levels.

Energy-oriented carbon dioxide accounts for about 80 percent of these gas emissions in Japan.

The panel drew up an energy policy in June 1998 to meet the protocol, but has been forced to review this as carbon dioxide emissions have been growing in the commercial and transport sectors beyond previous estimates.

If the government does not take further action, carbon dioxide emissions are estimated to exceed 1990 levels by 20 million tons.

To prevent this, the panel calls for curbing 6 million tons through energy-saving efforts, 9 million tons by promoting renewable energy and 5 million tons by promoting LNG at thermal power plants.

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