23 October 2009

Japan Lays Groundwork for a Stepback

From Reuters:
Japan could weaken its target for a 25 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 if all major emitters do not reach agreement on an ambitious global climate pact, the environment minister said on Friday.

Countries are in fierce negotiations before a Dec. 7-18 meeting in Copenhagen for a broader, tougher agreement to fight climate change beyond 2012, when the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol ends. "The possibility is not zero," Sakihito Ozawa told Reuters in an interview when asked if Japan could change its target, based on 1990 emission levels, if there was no ambitious agreement.

He declined to say what alternative target Japan had in mind.

"As environment minister, I want to go ahead with this pledge, but the government announced it with a precondition at the United Nations (climate change summit last month) so of course it could change," he said.
If you want to know why such a stepback is inevitable, you can have a look at my analysis of Japanese emission reduction targets in the following paper:

Pielke, Jr., R.A., 2009. Mamizu Climate Policy: An Evaluation of Japanese Carbon Emissions Reduction Targets, Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 4, No. 4.