“A 20% reduction in GHGs compared to 2013 levels” is unacceptable!

Japan must reduce emissions 40-50% compared to 1990

Apr 10, 2015

Japan is currently in the process of discussing its updated INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) for the prevention of global warming. While Japan was supposed to submit its proposal by March 2015, it did not, and now aims to do so before the G7 and UNFCCC meeting in June.

Yesterday (April 9th), it was reported by some media outlets that Japan will set a new target: “an approximately 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 2013 levels.” This is only a 10% reduction compared to its emissions levels in 1990, the base year of the Kyoto Protocol. When seen from an international perspective, Japan aiming to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions only 10% in 40 years is not a “fair and ambitious” target. Moreover, not only will this diminish the momentum for an international agreement at in COP21 in Paris, France, it also risks accelerating the fall of Japan’s status in climate negotiations.

In addition, Japan will be viewed with suspicion for attempting to artificially raise its low reduction target by changing the base year to 2013, which saw the country’s highest amount of emissions in recent years. It will also affect international trust in the country. In terms of transparency, we believe it would be the most appropriate for Japan to either set its base year to 1990 in order to facilitate comparisons with post-Kyoto Protocol efforts, or 2010, which is frequently used in the IPCC Fifth Assessment report.

As a group of Japanese NGOs working on climate change and energy issues, we have been considering what the “fair and ambitious” target is that Japan should adopt as an anti-global warming measure. “Fair and ambitious” is a keyword in international climate change policy, and should be decided based on the emissions reductions that are necessary to contribute in a way that is in accordance with Japan’s ability and responsibility.

We have concluded that Japan should set a target of 40-50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels (41-51% compared to 2010 levels)*. Furthermore, Japan should announce separately from its domestic reduction target how much it will contribute overseas to emissions reductions through financing  and technology support, and at that time make sure to include a basic policy with regard to domestic and overseas climate change adaption as well.

Japan is a country that has many times in the past attached great importance to contributing to international society regardless of what difficult conditions were at hand. Now, when international negotiation are entering an extremely important phase, it is necessary for Japan to declare its intention to make sound contributions by a adopting fair and ambitious target for emissions reduction.


*Domestic forestry measures (sinks) are included, however overseas reductions are not.


Reference: Details Regarding CAN-Japan’s Proposal



The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 900 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in over 100 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. CAN-Japan is a national node in Japan and consists of 11 member organizations.