The US and China Announce New Emissions Reduction Goals:
Japan must speed up talks on an emissions reduction target
November 12th, 2014
Today, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change. While the US has already announced their interim target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17% by 2020 (compared with 2005 levels), this new target further raises emissions reduction ambitions to 26-28% by 2025 (compared to 2005 levels). China stated that its carbon emissions will peak around 2030. In addition, the two countries agreed to increase the proportion of non-fossil fuel energy to approximately 20% by 2030.
These new goals fall short in terms of keeping global temperature rises within 2° C compared to pre-industrial levels, an internationally agreed upon goal for preventing dangerous climatic changes. However, the two leaders showing their political will to counteract climate change is a significant step forward. This is certainly a strong message that can lead to successful negotiations at COP21 at the end of 2015 in Paris.
Prior to this announcement, the EU agreed to a reduction target of 40% by 2030 (compared to 1990 level) on October 24th, 2014. On that day, Japan finally started talks on a post-2020 greenhouse gas reduction target. It seems ironic that at the same time China and the US has announced their new target, Japan is still in the beginning stages of considering an emissions reduction target – they have just had their second meeting on the topic. This again brings into relief how behind the Japanese government is.
Fully bearing in mind the final agreement at COP21 in Paris, Japan must speed up talks and agree on an ambitious reduction target before the March 2015 deadline.
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