Japan settles on 26% carbon reduction target

Published 05:54 on June 2, 2015  /  Last updated at 13:32 on June 2, 2015  /  Asia Pacific, Climate Talks, International, Japan  /  No Comments

Japan on Tuesday made a final decision to target a 26% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from 2013 levels by 2030, and will present the plan at the G7 meeting that starts in Germany this weekend, media reported.

Japan on Tuesday made a final decision to target a 26% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from 2013 levels by 2030, and will present the plan at the G7 meeting that starts in Germany this weekend, media reported.

The target, which will be submitted to the UN next month, was in line with recommendations made in April by a government-appointed expert panel.

Japan’s target is “internationally comparable and ambitious”, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, according to Nikkei.

Green groups have criticised the target, saying it is too weak and that Japan is not pulling its weight on climate change issues.

Some business groups also weighed in against the government target.

“The Japan-CLP considers a minimum of 30% reduction from 1990 levels (about 36% compared to 2005) to be a desirable target for the country by 2030, in order to responsibly and actively address climate change,” said a policy document released by the Japan Climate Leaders Partnership, a business group containing companies such as AEON, Fujitsu and Ricoh.

A 26% cut from 2013 levels equals 18% compared to 1990. Japan’s previous government had pledged a 25% cut on 1990 levels by 2020, but Abe abandoned that target in December 2013.

But sharpening the target would be required to stay aligned with the long-term ambition to cut emissions 80% by mid-century, according to the business group.

“If the government sends out the clear signal of an ambitious target, and offers incentives such as carbon pricing, companies could actively invest and engage in technological innovation to elicit change. Consumers would be able to purchase attractive low-carbon products at more affordable prices, which will also improve their own environmental awareness,” Japan-CLP said.

The government’s expert panel said in April it expected the Joint Crediting Mechanism to generate around 50-100 million tonnes of CO2e cuts between now and 2030, but it remains unclear whether that will be part of Japan’s INDC.

The story has been updated with quotes from the Japan Climate Leaders Partnership paper.

By Stian Reklev – stian@carbon-pulse.com