The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry released an interim report Friday on global warming, calling for a new framework that covers the majority of ozone-depleting greenhouse gas emissions.

The new framework is expected to be launched after the 1997 Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. Because the United States, which accounts for 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, has withdrawn from the Kyoto pact, it covers only one-third of total emissions, the report states.

With developing countries, which are not covered by the Kyoto pact, expected to produce half of all greenhouse gas emissions in 2020, the report urges the U.S. and developing countries to join the new framework.

In pulling out of the Kyoto accord, Washington said that joining would harm its economy, citing the fact that developing nations are not covered by it.

Australia also said it would not ratify the pact.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, industrialized countries are required to cut their greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by an average of 5.2 percent between 2008 and 2012.

If Russia ratifies the treaty, it will come into effect.

The report also calls for the involvement of a variety of sectors in the new framework, including nongovernmental organizations and industrial circles.

The interim report was approved Friday by the global environment committee in the Industrial Structure Council, an advisory panel to the industry minister.

Cities to get funds

Municipal governments will receive part of the revenue from a carbon-emission tax to help them reduce global warming, according to an Environment Ministry draft designed to introduce the new levy in 2005.

The funds will be used to encourage households to build energy-saving homes and replace electric appliances with eco-friendly ones, and to spread the use of fuel-cell vehicles, the draft says.

The ministry is to submit the draft to a task force under the Central Environment Council, which advises the environment minister, on July 25. The task force is expected to flesh out the draft.

The planned tax is aimed at taxing oil and other fossil fuels based on their carbon content.

Municipal governments are already required by law to take steps to combat global warming, but at their own expense.

The draft says the tax will target crude oil importers and producers of petroleum products in a similar manner to conventional petroleum and gasoline taxes.

Petroleum products used in making synthetic fibers may be exempt from the new tax, as the process emits no carbon dioxide.

The burden on steelmakers and cement companies may be alleviated in light of their diminishing competitive edge in the international arena.

The ministry estimates that a tax of at least 3,400 yen per ton of carbon is necessary for Japan to attain its commitment under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to cut 6 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from the 1990 level in the period between 2008 and 2012.

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