Japan unlikely to target tough CO2 cuts for Paris – reports

Government divided over strategy for long term carbon cuts, with industry and environment ministries in disagreement

Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe (Pic: OECD/Flickr)

Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe (Pic: OECD/Flickr)

By Ed King

Japan is planning to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2030 on 2013 levels, according to a report in the Nikkei newspaper.

It says the industry and environment ministries are working on the proposal with a view to formally submitting it to the UN in June at the G7 summit in Germany.

Another report, in the Japan Times, says “divergent views exist within the government”, suggesting that the environment ministry wants a goal of 25%, and says the baseline year could be 2005.

Analysts at the Carbon Pulse website say targets of 20-25% would be “significantly weaker” than previous commitments from Tokyo.

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Japan is the world’s fifth largest emitter.  In 2013 the government dropped its long-term goal to reduce carbon pollution 25% on 1990 levels by 2020, replacing it with a goal that will see them rise 3% on 1990 levels by 2020.

The new proposals would mean a cut on 1990 levels of between 4-13%.

Despite huge investments in solar energy in the past two years it has been unable to implement tougher climate policies, due in part to the 2011 Fukushima disaster which led the government to move away from nuclear to fossil fuel electricity generation.

All countries have been asked to offer a contribution to a global climate change pact, due to be finalised in Paris this December.

Japan missed a March 31 deadline set by the UN for countries ready to offer their pledges.

The government has also faced stiff criticism for using funds earmarked for climate friendly investments to back new coal fired power plants.

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