April 30, 2015
RE: CAN responds to Japan’s draft Intended Nationally Determined Contribution
Dear Mr. Sinzo Abe,
On behalf of CAN, the largest network of NGOs working to keep the climate safe, I am writing to express concern from around the world in regard to the draft intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) towards the Paris agreement being considered by Japan.
From its role in the forging of the Kyoto Protocol, to its commitment to Fast Start Finance, it can be said that Japan was a leader of climate action with a savvy and sophisticated economy geared to reap rewards from the efforts to address climate change.
But those days now appear to be firmly in the past. Japan’s proposal, just announced today, to put forward at target of reducing emissions by around 26% on 2013 levels relegates it to that of a laggard on climate issues. With this bare minimum target, Japan has not presented a credible plan to shift its economy from reliance on climate change-causing fossil fuels to renewable energy. This means the country will become increasingly exposed politically and economically to climate change. Instead of putting forward a bold commitment, Japan has engaged with a slight of hand – changing base years – in an apparent attempt to make its offer look more appealing than it is. The world community is not fooled.
By clinging to an outdated model of energy generation which gives utilities too much control and continuing to rely on inflexible nuclear and coal for “baseload” power, the country appears increasingly at odds with the momentum that is building towards a phase out of fossil fuels and the explosive growth in the renewable energy industry, even though it has all the ingredients to become a winner in a decarbonised world. It is clear, Japan is being overtaken by key rivals, such as the US and China, on climate in advance of the Paris negotiations this December and who are standing ready to scoop up the benefits of accelerating the transition to renewable energy. By failing to send a strong message to the international community, Japan’s ideas on how to forge the Paris agreement will fall on deaf ears.
But it is not too late. Your government has the chance to review the draft and make a contribution that will unlock the benefits of action for the Japanese people and it’s economy. Therefore, ahead of the G7 meeting in Germany this June, CAN calls on Japan to set a target of over 40 per cent emissions reductions based on 1990 levels. Only such a target will start to restore the country to a position of leadership on climate and spark the investment in renewable energy which the country’s people are calling for.
Prime Minister Abe, we hope you hear this call and look forward to further exchange views on these issues.
Climate Action Network-International – on behalf of its 900 NGO members.