The not-so-simple debate at the United Nations meeting and the much-celebrated ratification of the Kyoto Protocol meant that (some) nations are taking climate change more seriously than others. At least in theory. Reading between the lines, we can sense the government's utter frustration that Japan is not able to present a sucessful model for a serious, radical climate change policy.
Reading between the lines: Japan is among the signatories that are committed to do something to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But because the country has not seriously signed up to or strongly promoted any major carbon offset trading regimes yet, it appears as if Japan is actually increasing its emissions (while the data from some small European countries is looking rather rosy).
Japan’s government and some large companies are buying the offsets, called Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs).
JBIC, Japan Bank for International Coorporation, is the key to making this work. For example, they are promoting wind power near the Black Sea and in Bulgaria, while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries "makes equity investments, provides engineering technology as a participating firm, and acquires the carbon credits generated by the project."
The key word here is to set targets. Governments should make legally binding targets and make sure that companies are punished if they don't make an effort.
Easier said than done, at least here in Japan.
While the Kyoto ink still appears to be drying, now, in 2009, the next big meeting will be held in Copenhagen, to discuss how to continue "post-Kyoto" and how to make sure that more countries make more reductions.
Of course, it doesn't look so good that Japan's greenhouse gas emissions will increase by about 7 percent from 1990 levels, instead of decrease.
Today, NHK World reports that the Japanese government panel in charge of this matter is expected to present four options to help decide mid-term targets for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
If energy saving equipment now under development is fully utilized, emissions could be reduced by about 4 percent, they think. Reading between the lines: "Oupps, we are in trouble."
The panel also says Japan will have to achieve a 25 percent reduction to meet the level required by a UN climate change organization. Reading between the lines: "..."
A government-sponsored panel of experts scheduled to meet on Thursday, February 12, to examine the various options:
The Kyoto Protocol that expires in 2012 requires Japan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent from 1990 levels. However, Japan has yet to commit to a reduction target for 2020. The government says it will set the mid-term target by June, taking into consideration the moves of other nations and possible effects on the Japanese economy.
NHK World: Japan to set mid-term targets for CO2 reduction