Trading house Sumitomo Corp and two other Japanese firms plan to earn greenhouse-gas emissions rights by reducing the level of global-warming gases in China, a press report said yesterday.
They will take advantage of an international arrangement under the Kyoto Protocol, a UN pact on global warming, that accords emissions rights to countries and firms in return for their help in reducing greenhouse gases in developing countries.
The three firms plan to collect methane gas generated at Chinese coal mines and use it to produce electricity, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said.
Sumitomo will work on the project with Chugoku Electric Power Co and Niigata Power Systems Co, the business daily said.
They are expected to become the first Japanese companies to launch a program in China under the arrangement, known as Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the report said.
More Japanese firms are likely to follow in their footsteps and pursue similar projects in China, which produces the largest amount of global warming gases after the US, the report said.
The project is expected to begin after it wins approval from the UN and the governments of Japan and China.
Reductions that are achieved will count toward helping Japan meet its obligation to slash emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.
The 1997 UN protocol requires industrialized countries -- with the exception of the US, which alone accounted for 36.1 percent of greenhouse emissions in 1990 -- to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases to below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.
The US has refused to ratify the protocol. China is a Kyoto member but as a developing country does not have to meet specific targets for cutting emissions.
Japan must make a 6 percent reduction in such emissions, which accounted for some 8.5 percent of the global total in 1990.