＜From “Kiko Network News” Vol.34,January 2004＞
2004 is a very important year for Japan’s efforts in preventing climate change: itis a year to review the government’s Guideline of Measures to Prevent Global Warming. Ifthe current approach is evaluated to be insufficient to achieve 6% reduction of greenhouse gasesregulated in the Kyoto Protocol, more drastic actions shall be taken from 2005.
What is the Guideline of Measures to Prevent Global Warming?
The Guideline of Measures to Prevent Global Warming (hereinafter referred to as “theGuideline”) presents Japan’s climate change policy package decided at the GlobalWarming Prevention Headquarters which Prime Minister heads. The Guideline states allocationof 6% reduction of greenhouse gases (GHGs) under the Kyoto Protocol and includes numericaltargets and corresponding policies and measures. The Guideline, presented in July 1998, wasonce revised in March 2002 since it was insufficient to meet the Kyoto target. New guideline statesto take “step by step approach” and it will be reviewed and assessed in 2004and 2007, .
Scheme of 6% GHG reduction in the Guideline(2008 – 2012)
|DomesticReduction||Energy Related CO2||±0.0%|
|Non-energy related CO2, Methane, Nitrous oxide||-0.5%|
|Innovative technologies and the efforts of each social actor||-2.0%|
|Fluorinated Gases (HFC / PFC / SF6)||＋2.0%|
|Others||Sinks from forests, etc. (domestic)||-3.9%|
|Kyoto Mechanisms (ET / JI /CDM)||-1.6%|
Problems of the Guideline
1) The Guideline is nothing more than a mixture of existing policies and measures of respectivegovernment agencies. They are neither coordinated nor prioritized, and some of them run counterto all the efforts to prevent climate change.
2) The Guideline does not have legal status*.It is decided by bureaucrats without publicparticipation and has significant lack of transparency.
3) The Guideline lacks some important data,which makes the entire plan of Guidelinevery unclear. For example, business as usual(BAU) scenario and CO2 emissions from energyconversion sector are not specified.
4) The Guideline takes over the framework of existing policies. It was not appropriatelyreviewed and strengthened.
5) The Guideline already includes infeasible plans, (e.g. 30% increase of nuclear powergeneration), and unrealistic reduction assumption (e.g. reduction through individual voluntaryaction). On the other hand, effective measures,such as carbon-tax, efficiency standardsfor facilities and buildings, and renewable energy feed-in-tariff law have yet to beintroduced.
(*) The Kyoto Target Achievement Plans stipulated in the Law Concerning the Promotion of theMeasures to Cope with Global Warming is expected to be statutory, replacing the Guideline.However, it will be drawn up only after the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol.
Stronger measures are crucial!
Current measures against climate change are apparently insufficient. Having failed tointroduce drastic solutions, GHGs emissions in fiscal 2001 increased by 5.2% over baseyear level and the road map for the reduction has yet to be laid out. If we postpone theintroduction of the necessary measures again this time, the target of the Kyoto Protocolwill be hardly achieved. Given the fact that more drastic cut will be necessary after2013, current measures are definitely not enough. To realize the society with low carbonemission, all the sectors must take stronger measures against climate change.
Five important points for evaluating the Guideline
1) Transparency and public participation
The groundwork for the Guideline was laid only by bureaucrats without reflecting thediscussions taken at councils. From this year, councils both at the Ministry of Environmentand the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) will start to review the process respectively.If the same process is taken, it will again end in “adjustment of bureaucrats”.The decision making process itself should be changed: the Guideline should be decidedin a cross-sectional manner by ministries,with the transparency through disclosureof necessary information and public participation.
2) Drastic cut in all sectors
No sector succeeded in reducing GHGs of 6% or more in fiscal 2001, regardless of theemission trend in each sector. Thus, measures have to be strengthened in every sector,not only in the transportation and public sectors that have large emission increase,but also in the industrial sector which is the largest emitter.
3) Major emphasis on domestic emissions reduction
Japan should adhere to basic policies that emphasize domestic measures for emissionreduction. First of all, Japan must discontinue current “fraudulent” use of carbonsinks, depending too much on it, which actually has seen no increase. Secondly, Japan mustnot rely on Kyoto mechanisms to compensate for its negligence and should introduce policiesand measures to steadily implement cost-effective domestic measures.
4) Fundamental shift in energy policy
Unrealistic dependence on nuclear power generation makes the entire Guideline unattainable.It is impossible to increase the production of electricity by 2010 in the situation thatonly three additional nuclear power plants are under construction. When reviewing bothLong-term Prospect of Supply and Demand of Energy and the Guideline, the governmentshould articulate the shift from nuclear power generation, advocate economic societyof new era, relying largely on renewable energy, and introduce policies to promoteit.
5) Introduction of effective policy focusing on Carbon Tax
Various policies can be applied to reduce GHGs, and it is imperative for each sectorto choose the effective one with attention to details. Especially, imposing carbon-tax,which is one of the most effective in every sector, should be set as an important pillar.Besides, other effective measures should be implemented such as strengthening regulationson efficiency standards for facilities and buildings, regulating F-gases usage, makingcommitment for the Keidanren Voluntary Action Plan on the Environment, and obligating industriesto disclose the emissions data.