Japan Climate Leaders’ Partnership (Japan-CLP), a Japanese corporate network that aims to achieve a sustainable low carbon society from a business perspective, announced its proposal regarding Japan’s climate change policy on March 2, 2015.
Moreover, in response to the Japanese government’s proposal of greenhouse gases (GHGs) reduction targets that were unveiled in April, Japan-CLP released an opinion paper to call for more ambitious targets.
Japan-CLP was established in 2009 as a Japanese individual corporate group, based on the recognition that the industrial sector should have a sound sense of urgency and take positive action to achieve a sustainable low carbon society. As of April 2015, ten companies— including corporate members of Japan for Sustainability such as Fujitsu Ltd. and the LIXIL Group Corp. — participate as members of Japan-CLP.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its 5th Assessment Report in October 2014. The report showed significant scientific findings, such as the finding that if the current level of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions continues, the rise in atmospheric temperatures will exceed 2 degrees Celsius, and that, in order to avoid this temperature increase, we must reduce CO2 emissions to or below zero by around the end of this century.
Natural disasters attributable to climate change have already occurred in many parts of the world. Furthermore, it is obvious that without adequate mitigation measures, the risks from climate change will increase, leading to huge economic losses.
In the international community, there has been some progress by some countries toward reaching a consensus on an international framework for the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21), which will be held in December 2015. Even the United States and China, which have been negative about carbon emissions reductions in the past, have announced ambitious reduction targets.
Meanwhile, Japan has not shown any improvement in CO2 emissions reductions since the late 1980s, and now lags behind countries that have continued to improve, such as the U.K., Germany, and France. Even Japan’s reduction target, which was set in the 4th Basic Environment Plan, merely represents the minimum reduction needed to ensure temperature increases remain below 2 degrees Celsius.
Must set mid- and long-term post-2020 emissions targets immediately:
- The long-term target of an 80 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050, as approved by the Cabinet, should be regarded as the minimum target necessary to avoid an excessive temperature increase. In view of this target, Japan should set a 2030 mid-term target as early as possible, and should review its 2020 target.
- Japan should reduce CO2 emissions as soon as possible, and endeavor to make it possible to operate at the minimum necessary CO2 emissions after 2050.
Must implement policies to shift to green economy to achieve target
- Japan should consider “carbon pricing” measures, such as carbon taxes and an emissions trading system, to shift toward a green economy.
- Policies should be designed so as to avoid market turmoil, and to encourage companies and citizens to take independent actions toward a low carbon society.
- In addition to the pricing of carbon, Japan should promote the expansion of the green market by policy responses, including information dissemination and forward-looking regulations.
- Japan should set an introduction target for renewable energy as quickly as possible, and aim to attain steady capacity growth.
Businesses must fill role and take responsibility as driving force behind low carbon society
- Companies should further strengthen the development of energy-efficient and resource-efficient business activities across the entire supply chain, and the development and supply of energy-efficient and resource-efficient goods and services for customers.
- Companies should be actively involved in the creation of a new low carbon society in cooperation with the government and different industries, and should actively make policy proposals to the government to improve the policy environment.
Recommentations on the climate policy in Japan
In response to the government’s mid-term GHG reduction target proposal of a 26 per cent reduction from 2013 levels (25.4 per cent reduction from 2005 levels) by 2030, Japan-CLP proposed a target of at least a 30 per cent reduction from 1990 levels (about 36 per cent compared to 2005 levels), with the idea that more ambitious targets are indispensable for Japan to proactively tackle the issue of climate change.
Policy Paper on the Mid-term GHG Reduction Target of Japan