Tag: japan

Aren’t You Lowering Ambition, Japan?

Japan will soon make a decision on new energy and climate policy in light of the Fukushima nuclear accident. ECO supports the voices of the majority of Japanese people, who say, “No, thank you” to nuclear. Nuclear is not a solution.

However, we realized with surprise, Japan considered that mitigation is not possible without nuclear. Believe it or not, the projection of GHG pollution in 2020 for Japan is from 0% to -7% from 1990 levels when Japan chooses a nuclear-free future. This is nearly at the level of the first commitment period Kyoto target (-6%)! Is nuclear really a mitigation solution? ECO believes NOT. Japan could surely reduce CO2 while reducing its dependence on nuclear. Rather, it’s better and faster to realise a low-carbon society through shifting the tremendous nuclear investments to renewables and energy efficiency.

ECO is anxious to know whether Japan intends to discuss raising ambition as a matter of urgency. We have no time to delay. No room to lower efforts. In the last session in Bonn, ECO urged Japan to reaffirm its 25% reduction target by 2020 in Bangkok. Your silence is deafening. So, take the ambition discussion back home, identify any possible reduction potentials other than nuclear (here's a preview – you will find a lot) and come back with an ambitious target. Through that, Japan could make a sizeable contribution to Doha and to the world by transitioning toward a safe, low carbon economy. The international community is watching you.


And a note to Japan: contrary to what you stated in Sunday's 1(b)(i) workshop, double counting of credits IS a VERY big problem. A 1-2 GtCO2e bit problem, according to the UNEP Bridging the Emissions Gap Report, “if double counting of emissions reductions by developed and developing countries due to the use of the carbon market is not ruled out, and if the additionality of CDM projects is not improved." ECO reminds Japan that they noted (here it comes again) – with grave concern – the existence and size of the gap. Japan needs to do its part to close it – and avoiding double counting is a an important part of that.



Banking on Bunkers

Today, Parties will meet under the LCA Sectoral Approaches spin-off group for the last time before Doha to discuss how to address the fast-growing emissions from international transport. Parties must make sure Doha provides a signal to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on how to reconcile the UNFCCC principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDRRC) of Parties, with the practices and principles of these sectoral bodies, which have a long history of regulating ships and aircraft on the basis of equal treatment of all.

Negotiating positions of many parties have remained frozen in time for the past decade or so – sadly unlike the Arctic. For those who haven’t been hunkered down in bunkers, ECO will explain. At one end of the range there’s the US and Japan, who want the IMO and ICAO to proceed with no input from the UNFCCC. At the other end, a group of developing countries who want the UNFCCC principles to override those of the sectoral bodies, which are independent and autonomous bodies under the UNFCCC, thereby treating these inherently global sectors in the same way as nationally based emission sources. This could mean for example that ships owned or operated by companies based anywhere in the world could easily escape regulation simply by reflagging to another country to avoid compliance.

Singapore has presented a helpful compromise, saying that emissions from international aviation and shipping should be addressed through global measures under ICAO and IMO, while taking into account the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC. This is sensible and appropriate as far as it goes, but even more helpful would be to give an indication of how CBDRRC might be taken into account. It seems risky to leave the interpretation of UNFCCC principles entirely up to other bodies – after all, even seasoned climate negotiators find it tricky! The most promising way to address CBDRRC could be through provisions involving revenues and/or handling of allowances from a global multilateral approach. Differentiation in terms of revenues could allow, for example, support to improve energy efficiency and technology transfer and cooperation within the shipping sector. This can ensure any burden on developing countries is addressed appropriately,  with the use of remaining revenues from developed countries for climate finance through the Green Climate Fund.

So there you have it, Parties. This would give you something to think about. But don’t take too long; remember this is your last day before COP18 and the ice is melting…


An Ill Wind

ECO just caught wind of bizarre news. Apparently, a Japanese governmental committee is considering a range of pollution reduction targets that are lower than Japan's 25% target. When negotiators are discussing an agenda item on raising ambition so intensively (and Japan actually supports that agenda item here), this looks utterly strange. 

Why should the range of targets be so low? The reason is hidden behind the problematic assumptions used to calculate these target options. First, they includes a ridiculous assumption to increase nuclear energy, even after the Fukushima tragedy. Second, energy saving potentials are “fixed” deliberately at a low rate and thus do not reflect Japan's real pollution reduction potential. In a nutshell, there is still good opportunity to raise Japan’s ambition for 2020. Far more than the ranges under consideration are achievable. ECO knows that this discussion is an ongoing one and it has not been finalized. We also know that the range of targets do not include forestry and flexibility mechanisms. Nonetheless, the range suggests far less ambition and potential than the reality in the country. We wonder if, while Japan remains outside of Kyoto, they are really committed to doing their fair share to solve the climate crisis? Japan instead needs to raise its ambition and show what it can contribute to the planet!


CAN Collectibles: JApan!

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Fast Facts About Countries That Can Increase TheirAmbition in Qatar


Main export goods: Baseball players and hybrid cars, besides Playstations
Annual tuna consumption (raw): 500,000t 4kg per person
Best things about Japan: Best sushi restaurants in the world. Cherry blossom beautiful asset now flowering in March rather than in April because of global warming.
Worst things about Japan: Dangerous addiction to nuclear and oil. 80% of the population is allergic to cedar because we planted too many of them
Things you did not know: CO2 emissions in 2011 did not increase compared to 2010, even though Japan had to stop several nuclear reactors. (Amazing commitment by people/firms to save energy made this possible!) There are studies and analyses showing that the 25% target by 2020 is achievable even if Japan phases out nuclear
Existing unconditional pledge on the table: (None)
Existing conditional pledge (upper end): 25% below 1990 levels by 2020, but under review towards LOWERING the pledge
Next step to increase ambition by COP18: At least confirm 25% GHG below 1990 levels by 2020 by Bangkok and make it unconditional. Set a concrete target at least 80% by 2050 in the process of Low Carbon Development Strategy planning.
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Shorter Is Better

The 2020 deadline for the entry into force of legally binding commitments for all Parties is too late to meet the 2°C target unless pre-2020 ambition can be urgently and equitably increased. To do so, developed countries must step up in the KP and LCA, while the ADP can also help raise ambition in mitigation and the means of implementation.

In this spirit, ECO would like to remind Parties of the numerous benefits of shorter (5 year) commitment periods in the KP. They:

-Enable targets to be based on the best available science and updated frequently

-Reduce concerns about locking in low levels of ambition (and ECO has many of those!! Do I hear 30% anyone??)

-Maintain links with the political accountability cycle, which is typically 4 to 6 years (longer commitment periods make meeting targets someone else’s problem)

-Encourage early action (whereas it is easier to put off action with longer periods – just think: when did you do your homework as a child?)

It is also completely unacceptable for the USA, Canada, Japan, Russia, and any other developed country that reneges on its Convention commitments to take the lead, to remain outside of a legal agreement for the rest of the decade.

Amendments, such as the ability to ratchet-up targets within a commitment period, should be included in the Kyoto amendments, independent of commitment period length. Further amendments could also be made to assuage any concerns about adopting a 5 year CP as well.

Finally, ECO is concerned that 8 years would establish a bad precedent, leading to even longer commitment periods in the future (i.e. 2030) and longer IPCC assessment cycles (i.e. 8-10 years) currently being pushed by some Parties. In other words, 8 years is the “gateway drug” to poor regime architecture long term.

Ours is an ask of all governments – to do more, faster, to save the planet.  The EU and the few other committed developed countries should start by adopting a 5 year commitment period for the Doha amendment.  To quote from Shakespeare’s Henry VI trilogy – Defer no time, delays have dangerous ends.  And we all know how that story ends.

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From Tokyo to Bonn: A Target Heard 'Round the World

In Bonn, while most nations are clarifying their pledges, as agreed, Japan is not saying a word about its 25% target. We know that Japan has been revising its 2030 energy strategy. While we welcome the intensive discussion on that, we hope that Japan also contributes to the discussion we are having here – reduction targets for post-2012 and, importantly, raising ambition!

In Bonn, while most nations are clarifying their pledges, as agreed, Japan is not saying a word about its 25% target. We know that Japan has been revising its 2030 energy strategy. While we welcome the intensive discussion on that, we hope that Japan also contributes to the discussion we are having here – reduction targets for post-2012 and, importantly, raising ambition! At the minimum, Japan needs to reaffirm its 25% from 1990 levels by 2020 target and show the world it will keep to the path of a low carbon future, even while recovering from the catastrophe that struck last year. In fact, some Japanese NGOs have shown that the 25% target is achievable even while phasing out all nuclear. Japan can make a sizeable contribution to the world by transitioning toward a safe, low carbon economy. Japan should use its discussion at home to raise its voice at Bonn and reach a more ambitious target by Bangkok!

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Last year in Cancun, Japan was heavily criticized and often appeared in media breaking stories when they announced that they would never accept the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

A year later in Durban, the Japanese delegation seems a lot more relaxed.  Nobody is writing about them and they haven’t even been designated for a Fossil yet.

Does this mean that Japan has reformed its ways and taken a revised position that is now acceptable?  Of course not!  Japan’s position is just as destructive as it was before, during and after Cancun. In fact, their position seems only to be getting worse with recent reconsideration of their 25% domestic target.

So let’s review. Japan has come to Durban with a position to refuse the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol while having no strategic alternative or strong domestic policy in place. It is actually a very sad thing that a country that wishes to be a permanent member of the UN Security Council just cannot seem to play a positive role in these crucially important international negotiations on climate response.

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Getting the Durban Deal Done

ECO has been clear in its call for a three-part outcome in Durban: adoption of a strong second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol; a mandate for negotiation of a more comprehensive and ambitious longer-term climate regime based on both scientific adequacy and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capacities; and a package of decisions facilitating near-term action on all four building blocks of the Bali Action Plan and implementation of the Cancun Agreements.

Let’s make something else clear: building a long-term structure for fair and effective international action on climate change is important, but what really matters is meaningful action supporting peoples and communities already suffering the negative effects of climate change, and collective emission reductions at the scale and pace needed to avert even more catastrophic impacts in the future. The best legally binding treaty instruments in the world don’t amount to much without emission reduction ambition in line with the science and financial resources commensurate with the need.

 Coming out of Panama, there has been some progress in developing draft text on many of the elements of the Bali Action Plan and the Cancun Agreements.  But the prospects for linked agreements on extension of the Kyoto Protocol and the negotiations on a longer-term legally-binding instrument are not bright, absent significant changes in the negotiating positions of a number of key countries.  Let’s look at them in turn.

 EU.  Fair or not, the EU holds the key to the Durban outcome.  If the EU does not come to Durban with the clear goal of adopting a second commitment period (not some fuzzy political commitment) the Kyoto Protocol will wither and die.  On Thursday, the EU laid out a clear set of elements for negotiations over the longer-term treaty that would assure that a KP second commitment period is a bridge to a more comprehensive and ambitious legal framework. EU environment ministers need to be careful not to set overly stringent conditions for such negotiations when they meet next Monday in Luxembourg.  

 Australia and New Zealand. While the view from atop the fence is nice, these countries need to get off of it and make clear they are ready to join with the EU, Norway, and others in embracing a second KP commitment period.

 Japan, Russia, Canada.  These countries claim they are bailing out of Kyoto because it doesn’t cover a large enough portion of global emissions.  They need to come to Durban prepared to reconsider their position if agreement can be reached on launching negotiations on a longer-term treaty regime, or risk being perceived as multilateral treaty-killers, not treaty-builders.

 US. The one developed country that stayed out of Kyoto, in part because the Protocol didn’t include major developing countries, claims it is willing to enter into negotiations on a new legally-binding instrument.  But it has set very stringent conditions for the launch of such negotiations, while acknowledging that these conditions almost guarantee no agreement on a negotiating mandate in Durban.  Meanwhile, the US is struggling to meet its already inadequate emissions reduction commitment, and has been reluctant to discuss ways of meeting the $100 billion by 2020 annual climate finance goal its president committed to in Copenhagen.  At the very least, the US must contribute to such discussions in Durban, not attempt to block them.     

The LDCs and AOSIS. The moral power of the most vulnerable countries needs to be heard, highlighting both the existential crisis they face and the reprehensible failure of those responsible for the problem to face up to it.  These groups support both the extension of the KP and a mandate for negotiation of a new legally-binding instrument; they must continue to work together in Durban to achieve both of these goals.

The BASIC countries.All four of these countries are leaders in taking domestic actions to limit their emissions growth as their economies continue to rapidly develop.  Their leadership is also needed on the current fight to preserve a rules-based multilateral climate treaty regime.  They should certainly continue to demand a second Kyoto commitment period.  But they should also call the US’s bluff, by indicating their willingness to negotiate a more comprehensive long-term treaty regime including binding commitments for all but the Least Developed Countries, as long as it’s truly based on principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibility.              

 All countries must come to Durban prepared to negotiate in a spirit of compromise if we are to achieve the ambitious package of decisions needed to address the mounting climate crisis.  Ministers must take full advantage of their time together before Durban, at both the pre-COP ministerial consultations and the likely pre-Durban meeting of the Major Economies Forum, to explore constructive solutions to the current roadblocks to such a package of decisions.  Then in Durban, they must work actively under the guidance of the South African presidency to bring the deal home.  Their citizens need – and expect – nothing less.



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