Greenpeace have welcomed Japan's commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent by 2020 against 1990 levels.
Incoming Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama made the announcement against a background of opposition to tackling climate change from the auto industry in particular.
Japan's greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise since 1990 despite a commitment under the Kyoto protocol to reduce them to 6 per cent below 1990 levels during 2008-12.
Greenpeace say the target still fell short of the 40 per cent cut by 2020 required by industrialised countries as a group at the Copenhagen summit in December but was a step forward.
'This is the first sign of climate leadership we have seen out of any developed country for quite some time – the type of leadership we need to see from President Obama,' said Martin Kaiser of Greenpeace International.
Japan has pledged to meet the target by creating a domestic emissions trading market with compulsory limits on major emitters and financial reward for clean energy. Carbon taxes are also being considered.
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