• Kyodo News


Japan will promote new aid programs to help developing countries take steps that not only cut greenhouse gas emissions but also address development issues such as pollution and poverty, government officials said Monday.

Tokyo will have to convince developing countries, which are generally reluctant to fight global warming over worries that curbing their greenhouse gas emissions could adversely affect their economic development, that the potential benefits of such measures outweigh the possible detriments.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will announce the plan at the Group of Eight summit starting Wednesday in Heiligendamm, Germany, as a way to encourage developing nations to take part in a new framework to fight global warming beyond 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol will run out, the officials said.

The envisaged measures, which take advantage of Japan’s past antipollution efforts as well as energy steps and technologies, include introduction of public transport systems to curb traffic congestion in cities so air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions can be cut.

The installation of garbage and livestock excrement disposal units in urban slums and rural areas will be promoted so waste can be reprocessed into fuel and fertilizers, helping to alleviate poverty and water pollution while collecting methane — a gas with a significant greenhouse effect.

The Environment Ministry will develop methodology for translating the economic, environmental and social merits of these measures into cash values to make their effects more clear and understandable, the officials said. Pilot projects will be promoted in Asia.

Japan has already agreed with the United States to cooperate in this area, they added.

Tokyo will also establish a scheme to prioritize such projects when offering official development assistance and funds under a mechanism in the Kyoto Protocol to fight global warming through 2012, according to the officials.

The G8 summit of leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and Russia is expected to take up global warming as a main agenda item.

Attention is fixed on agreeing on an international mechanism to come into force after the Kyoto Protocol, which only sets measures until 2012, especially over how to persuade developing nations and major emitting countries, including the United States, China and India, to take part in global efforts.

The protocol, formulated under a U.N. framework, requires industrial countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by an average of 5.2 percent by 2012.

But the pact does not cover major emerging countries like China and India, and the United States has refused to ratify the treaty after signing it.

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