CO2削減目標 25%のハードルは高過ぎる

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Sep. 9, 2009)
DPJ's goal of 25% cut in emissions too ambitious
CO2削減目標 25%のハードルは高過ぎる(9月9日付・読売社説)

How will the nation's new government build a fair framework to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, making use of lessons learned from the Kyoto Protocol? The new administration's ability to handle this matter will come under close scrutiny.

Democratic Party of Japan President Yukio Hatoyama said in a speech Monday that the nation's midterm target would be to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020. Hatoyama said he would announce the plan at the climate change summit at the United Nations later this month.

With a view to the post-Kyoto Protocol agreement for which the negotiation deadline is the end of this year, Hatoyama urged other major countries to agree on ambitious reduction targets. He said such an accord among all major countries will be a precondition for Japan's new pledge to the international community.

We believe it was quite right for Hatoyama to have said that the nation would start tackling the 25 percent reduction target only after all the major greenhouse gas emitters, including the United States and China--the world's two largest greenhouse gas producers, make efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

As for convincing the world's major countries to participate in efforts to address global warming, however, Hatoyama himself must press other countries to take action through summit meetings and other occasions. In particular, he has to persuade China, which has refused to shoulder any numerical emission-reduction obligations, in cooperation with other industrialized countries.


Hatoyama overreaching

Above all, is the goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels an appropriate target? Hatoyama's proposal is expected to fuel debate across Japan. The proposal translates into a 30 percent emission cut compared with 2005 levels, far higher than the reduction goals set by the United States and the European Union of 14 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

Because the target is expected to require strict regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, the proposal has drawn strong objections from the industrial sector, mainly out of concerns that it would have an adverse effect on the economy.

According to a projection by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Taro Aso, the country's households will end up having to spend 360,000 yen more a year for the country to meet the 25-percent reduction goal.

Once Hatoyama announces the plan at the U.N. meeting, it is highly likely to become the minimum reduction goal to be imposed in an international accord that will take the place of the Kyoto Protocol. The new government is advised to avoid having the plan become Japan's international pledge at this stage, when no domestic agreement has yet been reached.


Effect difficult to gauge

What kind of impact will the plan have on people's livelihoods? Hatoyama must thoroughly explain this point to the public first.

In the case of the 25 percent reduction target, it remains unclear how much will be reduced through domestic efforts.

Currently, Japan has been finding it difficult to achieve the Kyoto Protocol goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent from 1990 levels by 2012. In order to make up for shortfalls to meet the target, the government plans to purchase emissions quotas from other countries. The amount of emissions quotas to be purchased is said to total about 200 billion yen.

Such an ill-advised policy must not be repeated in the framework of the post-Kyoto Protocol agreement.

Hatoyama stated that industrialized countries should provide financial and technical assistance to developing countries striving to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The energy-saving technology that has been developed and fostered in Japan will serve as important tools to help the entire world cut greenhouse gas emissions.

What Japan has to do is not set a high reduction goal, but contribute by helping other countries slash emissions through realistic measures.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 9, 2009)
(2009年9月9日01時13分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2009-09-09 06:55 | 英字新聞

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