Japan Signs Deal to Buy Czech Carbon Credits

The Czech Republic has already cut CO2 by 24% instead of 8% required by Kyoto Protocol.

Japan will buy permits to emit 40 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) that the Czech Republic has not used. Czech Environment Minister Martin Bursik declined to elaborate on the value of the deal but said he expected to get 10 billion crowns (US$ 476 million) for this and similar deals this year.

"Part of the money will be spent on the use of Japanese technologies in the Czech Republic," said Yasuhiro Shimizu, executive director of Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, who signed the deal for Japan.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, negotiated at a 1997 climate-change summit in Japan, Prague is committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 8%, from 1990 levels, by 2012. But it has already cut them by 24% owing to industrial restructuring and other measures, giving the government 140 million units of carbon credits.

Japan, host of the Kyoto Protocol, is badly behind in meeting its own targets as the government hesitates at restricting industry amid an uncertain economy. "We are now in a very preliminary stage of the emission trading scheme. It's a kind of an experiment," Shimizu said.

Japan has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by up to 80% by 2050, and to step up carbon trading and research into carbon-capture technology, harnessing greenhouse gases emitted by power plants and factories and storing them underground.

It has also agreed to increase the use of solar power, while forging ahead with plans to build nine more nuclear reactors by March 2018.

Bursik added that the Czech Republic would sign a similar deal on carbon permits with the World Bank in May, and that it was in further talks with Austria, Spain and other countries as well as with Japanese companies.

"We will keep 40 million (units) for the Czech industry" and sell the rest, said Bursik. The income from the program, included in the Czech government's package of anti-crisis measures, is expected to create or save 30,000 jobs, while the green measures are likely to affect 200,000 households, Bursik said.

In line with Kyoto requirements, the money "will be used to boost the energy efficiency of (Czech) households and on support to all types of heat production from renewable sources," he added.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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