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(Reuters) - Japan has signed an agreement with Palau to allow Japanese companies to earn carbon credits by helping the small Pacific island cut greenhouse gas emissions, the Japanese government said on Monday.
Under the deal, both nations will set up a joint committee of representatives to operate a bilateral offset crediting mechanism, known as the Joint Crediting Mechanism, Tokyo said in a statement.
Japan has already has nine such bilateral agreements, aiming to bypass the lengthy screening process of the United Nations' Clean Development Mechanism, the world's main carbon offsetting scheme.
Its existing agreements are with Mongolia, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, the Maldives, Vietnam, Laos and Costa Rica.
Palau is among the small island nations in the Pacific that have been threatened by rising sea levels and are considered to be most at threat from the consequences of global warming.
Japan wants credits earned under these bilateral agreements to count towards its targets for reducing its heat-trapping emissions, although this has yet to be formally endorsed at U.N. climate negotiations.
Tokyo faced criticism at last year's climate talks in Warsaw for scaling back its 2020 target to a 3.8 percent cut in emissions from 2005 levels.
The lower target could cut Japan's demand for carbon credits, though it could still help Japanese firms such as Mitsubishi Research Institute Inc. export their low-carbon technology.
(Reporting By Susanna Twidale; Editing by Susan Fenton)