Well, first James Kanter at the NYT was very unhappy about Japan's CO2 emission cuts. I do look forward to his reports from now on - how will he describe the US effort, or China's? Mr. Kanter doesn't seem to remember that last year, Mr Aso's predecessor Yasuo Fukuda set a longer term target of cutting emissions by 60-80% by 2050. Seems to me that noone really wants to take the lead, and blaming Japan was an easy way to escape real responsibility.
Green Inc. Tsunami of Criticism for Japan’s CO2 Goals
Then, on June 12, Mr. Kantor wrote again, having talked to more experts, noting that perhaps, Japan’s goal are Not So Shabby After All?
The key distinction, both Mr. Purvis and Mr. Levi said, is that the Japanese had pledged to reach their goal by making cuts in domestic emissions — that is, by cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions within their own borders.
That contrasts with legislation under consideration in the United States, called the Waxman-Markey bill, as well as an agreement between countries in the European Union — both of which propose to meet their targets in large part by buying credits, or offsets, from carbon-cutting projects overseas.
Factor out the reliance on offsets in the original Waxman-Markey bill, Mr. Levi suggested, and the United States would be making cuts of only 8 to 11 percent from 2005 levels – substantially weaker than the Japanese target.
The European Union is also trying to reach a 14% reduction through domestic efforts which is basically the same as the 15% pledged by Japan. So why did everyone decide to redicule Japan so much? Perhaps if Prime Minister Taro Aso (and his advisors) had made more effort, they could have set a new standard (by separating domestic and international reduction efforts more clearly) instead of making Japan look like a bloody fool.
More about the "outcry" that followed Japan's announcement, on Copenhagen Questions, a blog about the negotiations leading up to the conference in Copenhagen.