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Environmental Protection & Preservation

U.S., Japan Consider Co-Benefits of Domestic and Global Environmental Programs

EPA and the Japanese Ministry of Environment (MOEJ) held a Washington workshop this week to expand their efforts on climate change and sustainable development in developing countries.

"Climate change knows no borders. The U.S. and Japan play vital roles in global economic progress as well as global environmental protection'' said Bill Wehrum, EPA acting assistant administrator for Air and Radiation. "In line with the Bush Administration's commitment to engage in extensive international efforts on climate change, America is working with Japan and other international partners to exchange innovative strategies for simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution."

This week's workshop is the third EPA-Japan meeting in the past twelve months focused on co-benefits in the transportation, agriculture, energy, and waste sectors in developing countries. Co-benefits are the additional results of policies that reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants; such additional benefits include energy efficiency and security, improved public health, and enhanced quality of life. EPA is working with Japan to explore how a co-benefits approach can be used to support climate-friendly policymaking in developing countries.

"Co-benefits are a very important concept which can realize both sustainable development and greenhouse gas mitigation in developing countries," said Deputy-Director General of the Global Environment Bureau of MOEJ, Mr. Ryutaro Yatsu. "Through the US-Japan collaborative plan, we would like to pursue co-benefits with developing countries."

EPA and MOEJ held the two-day workshop on March 5-6 at the World Resources Institute ( WRI ), a globally-recognized organization on the issues of climate change and sustainable development. Attending were representatives of EPA's Integrated Environmental Strategies ( IES ) Program, a recognized leader in co-benefits analysis, with current programs in China, India, South Korea, and Mexico. By sharing its approach and methodological tools, IES helps developing countries develop sound environmental policy- making.

At the workshop, participants explored outcomes of capacity-building programs, lessons learned from climate-related programs and efforts, new directions for research and analysis, opportunities to promote new co-benefits, and priorities for future action on co-benefits. EPA and MOEJ intend to formalize a plan for future collaboration through a Statement of Intent.

The U.S.-Japan partnership supports the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, which promotes projects and programs to protect the environment, improve public health, and enhance economic growth. EPA also plays a critical role in the success of the international Methane to Markets Partnership, of which Japan and the US are charter members.

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