• Kyodo News

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Six options for the country’s greenhouse gas emissions target for 2020, ranging from a 4 percent increase to a 25 percent reduction from 1990 levels, were outlined Friday by a government study panel.

The panel, chaired by former Bank of Japan Gov. Toshihiko Fukui, will further study the options — which also include a 7 percent reduction and a decrease of 15 percent to 16 percent — before the government sets a national midterm emissions reduction target by June.

The 2020 target is seen as crucial for Japan and other countries because it is a major focus of U.N. talks for a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

Of the options, the first two — 4 percent growth and a 7 percent reduction — are based on long-term energy demand estimated by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Additional options seek reductions of between zero to 3 percent if developed countries as a group were to slash emissions by 25 percent by 2020.

The panel, however, has yet to draw up a specific figure on one option that calls for each developed country to spend the same amount in relation to gross domestic product to rein in emissions by 25 percent for industrial economies as a group.

Some options estimate the possible economic impact of efforts to reduce carbon dioxide.

The 25 percent reduction option would push down the country’s GDP by 3.2 percent to 6.0 percent on a cumulative basis by 2020, while the option of a 15 percent to 16 percent contraction would shrink GDP by 0.8 percent to 2.1 percent.

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