Japan is preparing to strengthen its emissions goals as part of its commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement, Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi said during a virtual international climate conference he chaired Thursday.
In one of the biggest climate-related gathering of world leaders since the so-called COP25 meeting in December, Koizumi also urged officials to use coronavirus-related stimulus programs to set their economies on a more environmentally sustainable path. Decarbonization and decentralization are among steps key for a post-pandemic recovery, he said at the forum.
Japan, the world’s fifth-biggest emitter, has kept its emission goals unchanged since 2015, amid continued reliance on fossil fuels, partly due to public resistance to nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Koizumi, a rising political star in Japan who’s championed climate issues, helped forge an agreement earlier this year with the head of Japan’s powerful economy ministry to tighten support of overseas coal-power projects.
Nations have been urged to update their plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions ahead of the COP26 meeting planned for next year in Glasgow, as part of the Paris deal’s mechanism to raise ambitions to slow global warming.
Under its current Paris commitments, Japan is aiming for 2030 emissions to be 26% below 2013 levels. Koizumi said in July that he wants Japan to aim for deeper cuts, though any new target needs to be approved by the cabinet. In a related step, the government also plans to undertake a review of its 2030 energy-mix targets next year. A United Nations report published in 2018 found countries will have to cut their emissions by about half by 2030 to keep a global average temperature rise below 1.5°C, which is the more-ambitious target of the Paris deal.
Thursday’s forum was also used to promote a web platform for nations to share climate-friendly Covid-recovery policies.
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