CAN-Japan Statement for UNSG Summit:

Japan must boost its ambition to fight climate crisis

September 2, 2019

Climate Action Network Japan (CAN-Japan)


On September 23, 2019, the UN Climate Action Summit will be held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. As the global climate crisis intensifies, Japan has not escaped the impacts of large typhoons, floods, and heat waves. However, greenhouse gas emission reduction targets of national governments are still far short of what is really necessary. To address this situation, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has invited heads of state to the Climate Action Summit, a crucial event to be held in conjunction with the UN General Assembly this year.1

In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report “Global Warming of 1.5ºC” showed clearly that there will be serious consequences with 2ºC of warming relative to pre-industrial levels, and even if warming can be limited to 1.5ºC, serious impacts will still be unavoidable.2 Meanwhile, even if all governments could achieve their emission reduction targets for 2030, the efforts would still be insufficient and still result in warming of about 3ºC. This would mean imposing a catastrophic fate upon future generations. Projections show that current trends could lead to 1.5ºC warming by about 2030.

In other words very little time remains for action. If the targets for 2030 are not adjusted to be more ambitious, we will lose the opportunity to limit warming to 1.5ºC. It will be impossible to avoid a more serious climate crisis without more ambitious emission reduction targets, and a rapid shift to fossil free and 100% renewable energy. The global community is taking action, driven by awareness of the climate crisis. Children and youth are holding school strikes in a growing plea for climate action.3 National governments, local governments, companies, financial institutions, educational institutions, religious organizations, and a variety of other actors are joining efforts to decarbonize and starting to take action by declaring a climate emergency,4 declaring targets to transition from coal to clean power generation,5 committing to 100% renewable energy,6 divesting (to stop financing fossil fuels),7 and adopting a carbon neutrality declaration.8

Despite all this, Japan’s perception of the climate crisis is still very low. This country should be phasing out coal-fired power generation but is actually expanding it, and other actions are moving too slowly. We believe the Climate Action Summit presents a critical opportunity for Japan to boost its ambition and call upon the government to take the following actions:


1.       We call upon Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to attend the UN Climate Action Summit on September 23, acknowledge the IPCC Special Report on behalf of the Government of Japan, indicate clear support for the goal of limiting warming to 1.5ºC, officially declare that Japan will strengthen its climate targets and measures, and announce a doubling of Japan’s contribution to Green Climate Fund (GCF) replenishment.

2.       We call upon the Government of Japan to acknowledge that the current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in 2030 (26% reduction compared to 2013 or 18% compared to 1990) are too low to achieve the goal of limiting warming to 1.5ºC or 2ºC, and that larger emission reductions are needed. The government should immediately initiate the process of updating targets. We also call upon the government to ensure the participation of civil society in the process of considering and updating NDCs.

3.       In connection with updating NDCs, we call upon the government to revise Japan’s Climate Action Plan and Strategic Energy Plan. We call upon Japan to end its current bias in favor of nuclear and coal power, and instead make the shift to increase energy efficiency and achieve 100% renewable energy. In parallel, we call upon the government to stop fossil fuel subsidies, and instead strengthen carbon pricing and maximize efforts to improve energy efficiency.


We also appeal to all actors in Japan besides the national government—including every individual, local government, and company, etc.—to acknowledge that we are facing a climate crisis, an emergency situation that is already threatening citizens’ lives and livelihoods, and to join us in calling upon the government to bolster its climate actions. Finally with the opportunity presented by the Climate Action Summit, we call upon all to join the Global Climate Strike9 actions being led by children and youth starting on September 20 to demand stronger climate action, in solidarity with citizens around the world who are raising their voices and taking action.






1.       Climate Action Summit

2.       (IPCC) Special Report “Global Warming of 1.5ºC”

3.       Fridays For Future

4.       Climate Emergency Declaration

5.       Powering Past Coal

6.       Renewable Energy 100% Platform:

RE100: , etc.

7.       Coal Power Divestment: 1000 institutions, 900 trillion yen

8.       Carbon Neutral Coalition

9.       Global Climate Strike




Climate Action Network Japan(CAN-Japan)Secretariat

Address: #305 Takakura Bldg. Takakura-dori, Shijo-agaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8124, JAPAN

Phone: +81-(0)75-254-1011   E-mail:   Website:


The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 1300 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in over 120 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. Climate Action Network Japan (CAN-Japan) serves as the Japanese base and consists of 14 NGOs in Japan.