Japan abandons climate change measures
26% reduction in emissions (compared with 2013 levels) by 2030 is not acceptable
July 17th, 2015
Climate Action Network Japan（CAN-Japan）
Today the Japanese government formally announced their national greenhouse gas reduction target (INDC) of 26% (compared to 2013 levels) by 2030. This is an 18% reduction compared with 1990 levels. Considering that global efforts need to be made to meet the “2℃ target”, Japan’s INDC fails to make the grade thus hindering mitigation efforts. Greenhouse gas emissions for 2013 were especially high among recent years. Putting forth emission reduction goals compared with 2013 levels only deceives the public. As the 5th largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions with emissions per capita at levels much higher than the global average, it is unfair for Japan to propose such a weak target. The government explained that committing to this 2030 target would keep Japan in line with their reduction target of 80% by 2050. But in reality, the target proposed today reflects Japan’s abandonment of climate change measures and only burdens future generations. Although the rest of the world is gearing up for the historic agreements to take place in Paris at COP21, Japan releases a 2030 target that is not acceptable.
According to the Climate Action Tracker, run by an international group of scientists, Japan’s 26% reduction target places the nation at the lowest rank of “Inadequate”. Should other nations follow Japan’s example, global temperatures will rise by 3-4℃ this century. The Climate Action Network (CAN) (the largest network of NGOs in the world with 950 NGO members from 100 countries) has criticized this target, which has led Japan to fall out of favour with the international community. Even the public has criticized the government’s target as being insufficient with many saying that the target needs to be higher. However, the government showed no regard to the public’s concerns and kept public participation to a minimum.
Included in the government’s INDC was an unrealistic reliance on nuclear power and fossil fuels while suppressing the expansion of renewables. This policy is definitely one of days gone by. Japan will have to face exorbitant prices for fossil fuel imports in the future and will miss out on cashing in on renewables (as the rest of the world continues to moves away from fossil fuels). Japan should lead the way and break away from both nuclear and fossil fuels and build a sustainable socioeconomic system that endorses renewables and encourages energy saving measures.
In addition, Japan’s INDC excludes details on the funds they will allocate for developing countries as well as policies on how the country will adapt to climate change in anticipation of the Paris talks. To prepare for COP21, it is necessary for the Japanese government to make adequate contributions to climate funds and develop adaptation measures that can be applied to developing countries are also urgently needed.
Nations were requested to submit their INDCs by March of 2015 in anticipation of COP21 in Paris. Not only did the EU, the US and other developed countries meet the deadline, but also developing countries such as China were able to submit their INDCs ever. Japan, however, was noticeably late, putting a damper on spirits ahead of COP21. The Japanese government should present a greenhouse gas reduction target of 40-50% compared with 1990 levels by 2030, which is not only feasible and transparent, but also on par with global standards.
Inquiries：Climate Action Network Japan（CAN-Japan）
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