ASIA: Japan to launch G8 energy-saving talks

Japan will host a series of meetings on energy-saving ahead of this year's Group of Eight summit where climate change will be high on the agenda, officials said Tuesday.

Talks will be held in Tokyo on January 22 and 23 to prepare for a meeting of energy ministers from the eight nations in June in northern Aomori prefecture, said an official at Japan's Agency for Natural Resources and Energy.

The energy ministers are expected to adopt proposals to present to national leaders when they gather in Toyako, a lakeside resort on the northern island of Hokkaido, from July 7 to 9, the official said.

"As a host, Japan hopes to take the lead in discussions on energy-saving measures as our country plans to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by sharing its energy-saving technologies with other countries," he said.

In a New Year statement, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda also vowed that Japan would "lead the worldwide discussions in order to hand over clean skies to our children."

Apart from Japan, the G8 club is made up of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the United States. The world's second biggest economy after the United States, Japan is also the home of the Kyoto Protocol, the landmark 1997 treaty that mandated cuts in greenhouse gas emissions heating up the planet.

However, Japan is well behind in meeting its Kyoto targets and has been criticised by environmentalists for not advocating more explicit mid-term goals for when Kyoto's obligations expire in 2012.

The Yomiuri Shimbun reported Sunday that the G8 summit would propose setting up a new international organisation to study countries' energy-saving measures.

The world body would provide emerging economies with the environmental know-how of developed countries, Japan's best-selling newspaper said.

The new organisation would be funded by Japan, the United States and European countries, with the International Energy Agency in Paris being eyed as a possible location for the new body's headquarters, the Yomiuri said.

The energy agency official, however, denied the report, saying: "It is true that we plan to discuss a wide range of energy-saving topics but we don't have any plan to set up such a new body."

Via: Agence France-Presse

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