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  Today’s Headlines: Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Japan To Launch Carbon Footprint Labeling Scheme.

"Japan is to carry carbon footprint labels on food packaging and other products in an ambitious scheme to persuade companies and consumers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

The labels, to appear on dozens of items including food and drink, detergents and electrical appliances from next spring, will go further than similar labels already in use elsewhere. They will provide detailed breakdowns of each product's carbon footprint under a government-approved calculation and labeling system now being discussed by the trade ministry and around 30 firms.

The labels will show how much carbon dioxide is emitted during the manufacture, distribution and disposal of each product, the ministry said. The Japanese campaign is loosely modeled on a British pilot scheme involving Tesco and several other firms, though that scheme has yet to gain official approval. ..." [Guardian Unlimited (UK)/Factiva]

The Globe and Mail notes that "... The ministry's research shows one example of carbon footprint using potato chips. A bag of chips creates 75 grams of carbon dioxide. Forty-four percent of the C02 comes from growing potatoes and another 30 percent from production of the processed food. Another 15 percent comes from the packaging, 9 percent from delivery and 2 percent from disposal of the bag. ..." [The Globe and Mail (Canada)/Factiva]

Jiji Press writes that "...Carbon footprint labeling is seen as a potentially powerful tool for raising public awareness on global warming and promoting energy-saving efforts by firms and individuals. The ministry plans to start trials in fiscal 2009 that begins next April.

Subject to the labeling will be the total amount of emissions of six greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and methane gas. The ministry plans to have independent third parties verify the labeling to ensure its credibility." [Jiji Press English News Service (Japan)/Factiva]

Meanwhile, in related news, Bloomberg reports that "Investment in carbon funds climbed 63 percent in the past year to $12.9 billion as investors spent on projects that curb greenhouse gases blamed for climate change, according to Environmental Finance. There are now 80 funds, compared with 56 managing $7.9 billion a year ago, the London-based publisher said [Thurs]day in an e-mailed statement.

That pace of growth is slower than the growth of emission- credit trades, which more than doubled last year to $64 billion from about $30 billion in 2006, Environmental Finance said, citing World Bank data. ..." [Bloomberg]


Brazil Plans Special Fund For Revenue From New Oilfields.

"Brazil will create a special fund to handle revenues from potentially enormous oil reserves found last year, Guido Mantega, finance minister, signaled Wednesday.

Mantega's remarks came amid reports that Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the president, favors a new national oil company to oversee extraction of the reserves alongside Petrobras, the state-run oil group. The minister said oil revenues from the pre-salt layer off Sao Paulo state - expected in three to four years - would go into a special fund possibly similar to one operated by Norway. Lula da Silva was said by people at a meeting of ministers on Tuesday to have argued that revenues from the proposed new national oil company should be spent on education and poverty relief, according to Brazilian media reports. ..." [The Financial Times/Factiva]

AP reports that "... Analysts estimate that recent finds could hold as much as 55 billion barrels of oil. If proven, that could transform Brazil into a major oil exporter. The oil lies off the Rio de Janeiro coast, some 7,000 feet (2,000 meters) beneath the ocean surface and a further 5,000 meters (16,000 feet) below the ocean floor.

Silva told reporters during a visit to a natural gas plant in the northeastern state of Ceara that he was neither 'for or against' creation of the new company, but created a committee of ministers 'to develop a proposal we can debate with Brazilian society.' ..." [The Associated Press/Factiva]

Dow Jones writes that "Revenues from Brazil's recently discovered pre-salt oil reserves will remain with the government and will be used to bolster public sector finances, Brazilian Finance Minister Mantega said Wednesday. Mantega said the government may eventually direct the revenues toward a planned sovereign wealth fund, or may create a separate fund exclusively to receive pre-salt revenues.

'One thing is certain, this (oil) wealth won't be employed for the benefit of company A, B, or C, even if it is a state company,' he said. 'It will be used in part for funding education, in part for healthcare, another part to diminish the debt load and another part to increase foreign reserves.' ..." [Dow Jones/Factiva]

Reuters adds that Mantega further said Wednesday "... the government intends to invest part of the income from newly found sub-salt oil reserves abroad to prevent inflation and the currency from appreciating. ... 'Brazil will do as other countries have done, and won't place all the dollars it receives (from the sub-salt reserves) in the country,' Mantega told reporters. Mantega said a government commission was still studying the shape a new model for the exploration of the sub-salt reserves should take and that the results would be presented at the end of the year. ..." [Reuters/Factiva]

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