(Reuters) - Japan plans to agree a carbon offset deal with India, Japanese media reported, citing unnamed government sources, potentially making the south Asian country the largest economy yet to sign up to cut greenhouse gas emissions under a Japanese scheme.
The two are expected to announce plans to accelerate negotiations over Japan's bilateral carbon offset mechanism when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomes Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Tokyo in early July for annual talks, the Nikkei news agency reported on Monday.
A deal would allow Japanese companies to install carbon-cutting technology in India and in return receive carbon credits under the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) that can be used to offset their own carbon footprint under the country's emissions target or be sold to the Japanese government.
Japan has already signed bilateral agreements with 11 countries including Costa Rica, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya and Mongolia, effectively allowing Japan to outsource its emissions cuts to countries where reducing greenhouse gases is cheaper.
Japan has been increasingly relying on fossil fuels to generate electricity after idling all 48 of its nuclear plants in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, and has found it hard to rein in its carbon emissions.
As a result, Tokyo last year watered down its 2020 emissions target, saying it would allow its greenhouse gas output to grow 3 percent from 1990 levels by the end of the decade, instead of cutting them by a quarter during that period. (Reporting by Michael Szabo in London; Editing by William Hardy)