Nearly six years have passed since the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, and the first commitment period, which begins in 2008, is only four years away. With the steady passage of time, the acceleration of climate change is increasingly apparent. Following on the heels of the recent large-scale floods in southern Africa (2000) and in Europe (2002), 2003 saw extreme weather events occur around the globe at an alarming rate. The heat wave in Europe, which resulted in as many as 10,000 deaths in France, large floods in southeastern China, forest fires in southern Europe and in the South America – and the list goes on. If climate change continues at this pace, it is predicted that
both the severity and frequency of these extreme weather events will increase. We can no longer allow the continued delay of the action to prevent climate change.
As the first step toward addressing the issue, the countries of the world together entered the implementation stage of the Kyoto Protocol. However, the United States withdrawal, Australia’s subsequent decision to following suit, and Russia’s delayed ratification have prevented the Protocol from entering into force. As a result of this, there has been a conspicuous renewal of efforts by the opposition to weaken climate change prevention efforts both abroad and in Japan. Although a few measures of Japan’s climate change policy are being implemented, the policy as a whole is inadequate, and highly effective policies remain on the back burner. As we face the 2004 evaluation and review of the government’s Guideline of Measures to Prevent Global Warming (government climate change policy package), the current policies require serious reconsideration. In addition, international negotiations regarding the next step of the Protocol, which is scheduled to start in 2013, are set to begin at the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2005. In light of these upcoming negotiations, it is necessary to think the future architecture of climate change regime.
If we hope to prevent dangerous climate change, we must make steady, large-scale cuts in greenhouse gas emissions before it’s too late. With this in mind, this paper offers some tools to identify the significance of implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and its development hereafter.
- Climate change poses an immediate threat. Listen to what science has to say
- The significance of the Kyoto Protocol – its importance as the only international framework for reductions
- Compliance with the Kyoto Protocol – Honoring the nation’s commitment
- What climate change policy means to Japan – formulating the next set of domestic measures
- Considering the way forward