CO2中期目標 「京都」の二の舞いを避けよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(May. 18, 2009)
Kyoto Protocol overreach must not be repeated
CO2中期目標 「京都」の二の舞いを避けよ(5月18日付・読売社説)

To what extent should the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions be reduced by 2020? As the government is finalizing a mid-term goal on the issue, it is important to set a realistic and achievable numerical target.

Prime Minister Taro Aso is to finalize the nation's mid-term goal in June. As the basis for discussions, a government panel has presented six options whose emission targets range from an increase of 4 percent to a decrease of 25 percent in comparison to the 1990 level.

A mid-term goal would be important since it would directly link to a new international framework on emission cuts that will succeed the Kyoto Protocol in 2013. Numerical targets that the government hammers out likely will become the minimum level that Japan is to take on under the post-Kyoto accord framework, for which talks are set to be completed by the end of this year.

The European Union has declared a mid-term goal of reducing emissions by 20 percent from the 1990 level. The United States hopes to cut its emissions to the 1990 level. Environment Minister Tetsuo Saito has said that Japan also needs to have "an ambitious goal."


Don't set unreachable goal

But setting a goal that is too demanding likely would prove troublesome for the nation, as the Kyoto Protocol has shown.

For Japan, which already has advanced energy-saving systems, it is difficult to achieve the reduction of 6 percent from the 1990 level as stipulated in the Kyoto Protocol. Despite its strained fiscal situation, the nation has set aside about 200 billion yen over the last four years to purchase emission quotas from other nations in order to cover the shortfall in the reduction target.

This kind of foolishness must not be repeated.

Under the post-Kyoto Protocol framework, it would be essential that China and India be required to fulfill their respective responsibilities as large emitters. To get the two nations to join the same framework, advanced nations need to show a willingness to cooperate on emission cuts.

For Japan, however, it is not an easy task to achieve the same level of reduction as the United States and some other nations that still have much to do to cut emissions. How to ensure fairness among advanced nations in this regard is a key concern as well.


Seek realistic target

The six proposed options include one under which a reduction target is set at 25 percent for advanced nations as a whole with those nations being assigned different target rates in accordance with the degree of progress made in their energy-saving efforts. Under this scenario, Japan would have a target of an increase of 1 percent to a decrease of 5 percent from the 1990 level. This seems to be a realistic idea.

Another option sets a target of 7 percent reduction with maximum use of cutting-edge energy-saving technology. This scenario is based on such an assumption that half of new cars sold are next-generation models. It is difficult to determine the feasibility of this option.

Japan has a long-term goal of reducing emissions by 60 percent to 80 percent from the current level by 2050. To achieve that goal it is important to try to establish a society that does not rely on oil and other fossil fuels.

What should be done in the process of setting a mid-term goal is to build the foundations of a society that does not rely on fossil fuels, rather than to compete over levels of emission reduction rates.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 18, 2009)
(2009年5月18日02時02分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2009-05-18 08:13 | 英字新聞

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