Japan could cut emissions 40-60% by 2030, researchers say

Published 03:38 on March 25, 2015  /  Last updated at 11:18 on May 12, 2016  /  Asia Pacific, Climate Talks, Japan  /  No Comments

Japan could cut emissions 40-60% from 1990 levels by 2030 by putting in place a carbon pricing system and policies to boost energy efficiency and renewables, according to researchers.

Japan could cut emissions 40-60% from 1990 levels by 2030 by putting in place a carbon pricing system and policies to boost energy efficiency and renewables, according to researchers.

A new study carried out by researchers from several universities and research institutes said Japan could achieve deep greenhouse gas emission cuts if the government would consider a broad range of policy options.

The study will be submitted to a committee established by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Environment to propose a 2030 climate goal for Japan to bring to the Paris talks in December.

The committee consists mainly of representatives from industry, and the scope of the research it will do is limited, according to Jusen Asuka, a Tohoku University professor who is one of the authors of the new report.

“The government assumption is that there won’t be a carbon price, that it will be business as usual with no incentives to change,” he told Carbon Pulse.

He said Japan is designing its INDC based on calculations that there will not be a decoupling between emissions and GDP growth over the next fifteen years, even though that decoupling started years ago in many other countries.

But the paper, which considered 21 recent studies on Japan’s emissions trajectory to 2030, said Japan could slash the carbon intensity of its economy by enforcing strict regulations on energy conservation and providing financial incentives to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

“In Japan we don’t have carbon pricing, but that kind of economic incentive would be a basic requirement,” Asuka said.

Japan in 2010 ditched plans to set up a nationwide ETS, and after the Fukushima disaster its nuclear fleet went offline, making the country increasingly dependent on fossil fuels.

Some of the nuclear plants are expected to come back online in the near future, but the government remains conservative about its ability to cut emissions.

Most observers expect Japan’s INDC, which is likely to be submitted to the UN in July, to target emission reductions in the 15-30% range below 1990 levels.

Its target for 2020 is to limit emissions growth to 3.1% above 1990.

By Stian Reklev – stian@carbon-pulse.com

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