Policy Paper on the Mid‐term GHG Reduction Target of Japan May 2015 Japan Climate

English translation, original text in Japanese
Japan Climate Leaders’ Partnership
Policy Paper on the Mid-term GHG Reduction Target of Japan
 

Climate change is a serious crisis that threatens the social foundations vital to people’s lives and
to corporate activities. The international community has agreed to commit to limiting global
temperature rise to 2°C from pre-industrial levels in order to prevent the most severe impacts of
climate change (known as the 2°C target). The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, based on scientific
knowledge and consensus, states that it is necessary for global GHG emissions to approach, or dip
below zero by the end of the 21st century in order to meet this target.
 

In March, the EU and the US submitted their mid-term targets for the reduction of GHG
emissions, ahead of other major countries. Most notable was the clear intention of both the EU and
the US to achieve a long-term goal of ‘80% emissions reduction below 1990 levels by 2050’, which,
according to scientific knowledge, is the minimum amount of reduction necessary to keep
temperature rise below 2 °C. Both have positioned their mid-term targets on the predicted future
paths. By demonstrating their clear intention to achieve the 2°C target, both the EU and the US have
demonstrated leadership in the global community.
In Japan, as a result of four months of discussions from the perspectives of the safety, stability,
economic efficiency, and transition to a low-carbon economy, as well energy savings, the government
announced a proposed mid-term target of a 26% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 from 2013
levels (a 25.4% reduction from 2005 levels).
 

We sincerely respect the commitment of those people who, in consideration of an array of
information and situations, have been involved in the coordination of this target, reflecting the
difficult position in which Japan has been placed since the Great East Japan Earthquake.
However, based on the following perspectives, the Japan-CLP considers it desirable that Japan’s
mid-term reduction target to be more ambitious as:
 

・ it is necessary to align with the long-term 80% reduction target by 2050, which has been
approved by the Cabinet, and which is the minimum target needed to avoid imposing excessive
burdens on future generations and prevent the most severe impacts of climate change. (In order
to achieve the 2°C target, controlling total cumulative emissions is necessary which requires
early and ambitious reductions. In addition, by understanding the next 15 years to be a turning
point for society, a shift to low-carbon social infrastructure will be critical.)
 

・ if the future vision of Japan to address climate change (low-carbon national strategy) is clarified,
it will be possible for Japan, a country with limited resources, to drive forward innovation that
will be needed to achieve the 2°C target and contribute to global low-carbon transition.
・ a target needs to be something that will be well-received by the international community and
reflecting the scientific knowledge (which has increased its reliability from numerous
compilations of research and observational data, and international consensus that have
undergone many difficult periods of working to balance the interests of multiple stakeholders).
 

・ being viewed as passive in addressing climate change may endanger trust from the international
community on the achievements of Japan to date in this area, and may have a negative impact on
overseas expansion of low-carbon technologies and human resources.
By referencing the above issues, scientific evidence, and the knowledge of various research
institutions, 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.
 

There have been some discussions on avoiding ambitious mid-term targets due to uncertainty
on feasibility and return on investment. However, considering climate action is a major challenge
imposed on the global community, and is an issue that must break with conventional ideas on
economic growth (which is dependent on fossil fuel resources), this is an issue that the current
generation cannot put off for future generations to deal with. Rather, it is an issue of what must be
done now to avoid severe impacts in the short term and in the future.
 

The Japan-CLP considers it is possible for Japan to aim at a more ambitious reduction target
while simultaneously preventing the outflow of the nation’s wealth and resources, stimulating the
economy, and contributing to the resolution of issues facing Japan. This would be possible if effective
measures are sufficiently strengthened and enhanced, for example, by taking advantage of the
potential of renewable energy to lead to a revitalization of the local economy, energy savings in
households that have multiple benefits such as maintaining the health of the elderly through
insulation retrofitting, and energy savings in the business sector which can contribute to office
energy efficiency.
 

Furthermore, 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.
Business innovation and expansion of the low-carbon market due to changes in consumer
behavior will give rise to a virtuous economic cycle. This will lay the foundation for Japan’s future
prosperity, by governments, businesses, and citizens coming together. It is worth taking up this
challenge.
 

The Japan-CLP thinks that ambitious climate action is not merely a cost, but is a promising
investment to maintain the basis of people’s livelihoods, and strengthen the competitiveness of Japan,
a country with limited resources. We would like to share this idea with policymakers, business peers,
and the citizens of Japan to work together to build our sustainable low carbon future.
 

Japan Climate Leaders’ Partnership (Japan‐CLP) is a business coalition in Japan that regards
spearheading to a sustainable low carbon society to be a business opportunity. On July 30th 2009,
Japan‐CLP was set up to urge the industrial community in Japan to develop a sound sense of
urgency on the issue of climate change and to initiate more proactive actions. The member
companies share the common goal of building a sustainable low carbon society through
communicating proactively with policy makers, industry and citizens, and will undertake a variety of
activities with a focus on Asia.
 

Members (as of March 2015):
AEON, ASKUL, DOWA Ecosystem, Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC, Fujitsu, Kikkoman, LIXIL Group, ORIX, Ricoh,
Sagawa Express
 

For more information, contact the Japan‐CLP Secretariat:
Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
Email:
Website: https://japan-clp.jp/
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