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Tokyo bourse says looking at carbon trading

by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Feb 28, 2008
The head of the Tokyo Stock Exchange said Thursday that the world's second largest bourse hoped to engage in carbon trading as Japan considers a cap-and-trade system.

"The Tokyo Stock Exchange is eager to act as the trading market for emission rights in Japan," president Atsushi Saito told reporters.

The bourse is working with government ministries, scholars and trading houses to launch a joint study on setting up the market, he said.

"We are in process of drafting a detailed plan. We want to communicate the idea with potential partners as soon as possible," he said.

A carbon-trading system sets a cap on the amount of pollutants companies can emit and then forces heavy polluters to buy credits from companies that pollute less -- creating financial incentives to fight global warming.

Japan is studying setting up such a system to move in line with global trends after the country's powerful business lobby signalled it would drop its opposition.

Japan, despite championing the Kyoto Protocol named after its ancient capital, is far behind in meeting its own obligations under the landmark treaty as its economy recovers from recession in the 1990s.

Until now Japan has relied primarily on voluntary efforts by companies and individuals to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

Under the Kyoto treaty, nations and companies are allowed to buy and sell emissions credits on a traded market.

A system on the Tokyo Stock Exchange would reduce Japanese dependence on the European Union's Emissions Trading System, which has become the world's major exchange for carbon emissions.

Japan is hoping to show a leadership role in the fight against global warming when it hosts the summit of the Group of Eight major industrial nations in July at the northern mountain resort of Toyako.

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