The closing of G7 Environment Ministers’ Meeting:
G7 leaders should declare ambitions commitments on climate change and energy at the Ise-Shima Summit
May 16th 2016
Kiko Network, Mie Asaoka
The G7 Environment Ministers’ Meeting that was held in Toyama city closed on the 16th after releasing the Communique, which included to develop and submit the long-term low GHG emission development strategies to tackle climate change as soon as possible and well within the schedule provided by the COP21 decision. Even though it was a step forward, the result was less than impressive. It is not enough to accelerate the implementation of the legally-binding Paris Agreement adopted last year during COP21 that aims to “limit the increase of global average temperature to 1.5~2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels”.
In the Environment Ministers’ Toyama communique, the G7 countries decided to issue the long term strategies way before the 2020 deadline. There was no set date for the strategy formulation in the leaders’ declaration at the G7 Elmau Summit last year and therefore we welcome that the time axis was displayed. Communique recognizes greening our economic and financial systems including banking, insurance, insurance, institutional investors, multilateral development banks and carbon pricing as a policy tool for cutting emissions cost-effectively.
Although the communique confirmed the importance of the early ratification and entry into force of the Paris Agreement, this is nothing new. During last month’s Paris Agreement signing ceremony, the United States and Canada expressed its intent to join the Paris Agreement within this year, while France declared to urge other EU nations to support its ratification of the agreement this summer as EU aims to ratify it this year.
Moreover, last year’s leaders’ declaration at the Elmau Summit declared to commit to 40 to 70% reductions worldwide by 2050 compared to 2010, but there were no numerical targets specified in the Environment Ministers’ Toyama Communique today. In addition, there were no raising of targets for the emissions reduction targets by 2020 and the post-2020 Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) that are both perceived as insufficient. It should have presented its determination to free from fossil fuels such as high risk coal and nuclear energy, strengthen energy efficiency, and decarbonize the energy sector by moving towards 100 percent renewable energy. Especially coal-fired power plants that releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide, no matter how highly efficient the technology is, do not go together with the targets of the Paris Agreement and so policies to regulate was requested. It is unfortunate that the content does not support the conference under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn that begins today, where the delegates will negotiate the particulars of the rules of the Paris Agreement.
The G7 Ise-Shima Summit will be held on 26th, 27th of this month. Climate change and energy are considered as one of the most important agendas of the summit. Japan as the chair country should prepare to set forth more ambitious promises compared to the results of the Environment Ministers’ Meeting in order to implement the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, the Japanese government must indicate the ratification period and immediately move on to advance the necessary domestic procedures.
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