The Japanese government should raise the target of greenhouse gas emission reduction;
Japanese NGOs seek resubmission of NDC after a public consultation process
January 23, 2020, Tokyo
Climate Action Network Japan (CAN-Japan), the Japanese node of Climate Action Network (CAN), a network of more than 1,300 NGOs in more than 120 countries says that the Japanese government should have a public consultation process and then raise the target of greenhouse gas emissions reduction to re-submit it as the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) by COP 26, with at least 45-50% reduction from the 1990 level by 2030.
The scientists pointed out that the Japanese government target of a 26% reduction from the 2013 level by 2030 is not aligned with the goal of less than 1.5-2°C set by the Paris Agreement (CAT, 2019). There is an analysis that the temperature rise could be as high as 3-4 °C if the efforts of all nations were only the same as the Japanese government’s goals. More than 1,000 annual deaths and economic losses of several trillion yen per year have already occurred in Japan with the global average temperature rise of about 1 °C since industrialization (GCRI, 2019). Keeping its low target, which could lead to a 3-4 °C rise, is a serious violation of human rights, not only for the current generation but also for future generations. For that reason, the international community seeks to strengthen measures towards goals that are more ambitious than “less than 1.5°C”, arguing that the 2 °C target is simply not enough.
There are three reasons why Japan needs to raise its target by COP26.
First, the urgency is based on scientific facts.
These 10 years are crucial, as the IPCC scientists have said at COP25, measures need to be put in place in order to keep the temperature rise below 1.5 °C. Without these measures, the temperature rise will exceed 1.5 °C, which may lead to even more dangerous temperature rises. We must significantly increase efforts to reduce emissions by 2030. To do so, we should set ambitious goals that take effect immediately and start strengthening the measures necessary to achieve them. In other words, we need to raise the target by COP26.
Second, it is the demand from the international community.
Based on the Paris Agreement and the COP decision, countries are required to submit national commitments including emission reduction targets to the UN in 2020. Along with civil society, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the IPCC scientists, leaders of especially vulnerable countries to climate change impacts, Greta Thunberg and young people around the world, demand that governments strengthen their reduction target in 2020, in order to avoid a deepening of the climate crisis.
Third, it is the responsibility of developed countries like Japan, which are large emitters.
After the United Nations Climate Action Summit held last September and the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) held in December, the number of countries which planned to strengthen and submit targets has increased to 108. The EU has a discussion for increasing its emission reduction target to “55% reduction” and is considering submitting it by COP 26 at the latest. Japan is a developed country, currently the fifth largest emitter in the world. Not only is its responsibility huge but it also has the ability to take measures. Therefore, Japan should act now and stand up for “climate justice” addressed in the Paris Agreement especially for those who are in the most vulnerable situation.
In order to prevent the increasing climate crisis, we present the following demands to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Minister of Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshi Kajiyama, and Minister of the Environment Koizumi Shinjiro:
- That the government of Japan recognize that the current NDC reduction target by 2030 (26% reduction from 2013 = 18% reduction from 1990) is not enough to achieve the 1.5-2℃ target and that the government of Japan raise the target to at least a 45-50% reduction from 1990 by 2030 and submit it to the United Nations by the COP 26 meeting in Glasgow in November.
- In addition to increasing the priority of climate change measures in the government, we demand that the government of Japan establish an inter-ministries review process within the government and start a public consultation process. This process should ensure the broad participation of Japanese civil society, already suffering from climate disasters, and eliminate the impact of conflicts of interest on fossil fuel-intensive industries (such as the thermal power and steel industries).
- In conjunction with the review of the emission reduction targets, we demand that the government of Japan revise the climate change measures plan and the Strategic Energy Plan. In this context, it is necessary to withdraw the conventional policy of promoting nuclear power and coal to reach carbon neutrality in 2050, which is necessary for meeting the Paris Agreement 1.5 °C target, in order to achieve energy savings and be able to switch to 100% sustainable renewable energy. We demand that the government stops fossil fuel subsidies and low taxes and other preferential measures for fossil fuels; and should strengthen carbon pricing and ensure energy savings.
- In parallel, through opportunities such as the G20 Summit, we demand that the government develops climate change diplomacy to encourage governments in large-emitting countries, such as the United States and China, to raise their emission reduction targets by 2030 within 2020. Also, in order to encourage developing country governments to raise their emission reduction targets, we demand the government of Japan help them through cooperation projects such as capacity building.