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21 October, 2016

Keidanren Makes Proposal on Paris Agreement, Saying Long-term Targets Should Be Addressed “Painstakingly”

On October 18, the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) released a proposal on global warming measures based on the Paris Agreement, the new international framework for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions (GHGs) that was adopted at COP21 last December.

As its basic approach to domestic measures, the proposal calls the linkage between global warming measures and energy policy “very important,” given that about 90% of GHGs are attributable to energy-derived CO2 emissions. It also says that the industry will continue to steadily promote its voluntary action plan for the electricity business for achieving a low-carbon society, contributing to achieving a medium-term target of reducing GHGs by 26% from FY2013 levels by FY2030.

The Paris Agreement requires each country to set a long-term target. As Japan seeks to make the best use of its existing nuclear power plants (NPPs) on the premise of ensured safety, the proposal points out the need to painstakingly consider future energy structure and costs, keeping the possibility of constructing new NPPs in mind.

Regarding Japan’s long-term target of an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050—included in the plan for measures against climate change approved by the Cabinet in May—the proposal says that the country will have to discuss the issues sufficiently, including a review of energy policy.

It points out the need also to verify the energy policy’s effect on the economy, employment and industrial competitiveness, emphasizing that it would be difficult to meet the target by merely extending conventional efforts.

Within the national government, expert panels at METI and the Environment Ministry are currently engaged in activities addressing global warming measures and a long-term vision, respectively.

Meanwhile, the Innovation for Cool Earth Forum (ICEF)—an assembly of Japanese industrial, governmental and university representatives discussing the resolution of global warming issues while sustaining economic growth—has been meeting since 2014 toward making innovation a key.

As for the Paris Agreement, the Diet began deliberating its ratification on October 19. When the Cabinet approved it eight days earlier, on October 11, the government announced that “we welcome the fact that the Paris Agreement is expected to take effect on November 4.” It added that it would do its best to obtain Diet approval and ratification as soon as possible.

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