Tag: japan

Australia gets another Oi, to its Oi Oi Oi with 4th Fossil of the Day Award (4 out of 10, ouch)

Australia’s worsening status as a climate wrecker was given even more attention internationally with its fourth Fossil of the Day awarded today at the Lima COP20. It’s another dubious honour. It’s not an award the Prime Minister will be sending “straight to the pool room”- that’s for sure.

Even the spin doctors in the Abbott government will be scratching their flaky heads with what to do as these negative accolades roll on in. There have been ten days of Fossils awarded and Australia has won nearly half. Normally Aussies like to win things, but most sensible Australians would be shaking their heads at this.

So what did they do this time? Well the Australian Trade Minister who is here to ‘chaperone’ the Foreign Minister told big business leaders yesterday that his Government may not sign up to a new global deal if major trade competitors are not doing it to, he said Australia will not "get it in the neck". And heck he’s got a heck of coal to flog.

Robb’s a self professed climate sceptic, he’s travelling with BHP lobbyists here in Lima and he wanted to reassure everyone at the big end of town that those pesky developing countries got all they were ever going to get (you know that $200million over 4 years they pinched from the massively slashed Australian Foreign Aid budget.)

Minister Robb made it clear at the swanky event with big mining and big corporates that the Abbott Government may very well might not sign up to any agreement in Paris next year. That’s just not cricket Minister.  

Today we will also present a very unusual Ray of the Day - a “Pending” Ray. Japan have declared that the engagement of civil society in the INDC process is important - which is good. However, Japan is one of two countries (the other being the USA) that oppose webcasting meetings of the Green Climate Fund - an important element of transparency.

NGO participation and transparency are crucial in the INDC process. Since Japan is championing this position, and hopefully reflecting a similar sentiment at home, Japan is awarded a “Pending” Ray of the Day. When they stop blocking efforts to increase transparency in the Green Climate Fund, they can come and collect.

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Japan - Fossil of the Day - December 2, 2014 -COP 20 Lima

 

Japan wins the Fossil of the Day Award for getting busted funding coal and gas power stations in developing countries, in particular Indonesia, with money meant for scaling up climate action.  Using climate finance to fund the root causes of climate change smells very whiffy. 

Japan's argument is that it is better to fund clean coal than dirty coal. A very short sighted vision of what development means: A slightly cleaner coal or gas-fired power plant will not get energy to everybody that needs it. And the bill will only get higher in the coming year as fuel prices rise, and pollution from the plants hits home, and of course as climate change impacts worsen. Already locals are complaining that coal sludge is clogging up their rivers and killing fish stocks.  Not something known to happen with renewable energy. 

The fact is, Japan has in pretending to be a knight in shining armour with its Fast Start Finance Funds, but has actually been the dragon that ate the damsel all along.

This pot of Japanese money should have gone to renewable energy which could have solved some of Indonesia's problems, not worsened them. That's what climate finance should be about.

Ministers, Remember the KP?

The KP has its fans for good reasons, like legally binding commitments, its base year and common metrics, not to mention its compliance regime. ECO knows that the KP is not perfect, but it’s the best we’ve got, and it has to serve as the baseline for the new regime. And Ministers, ECO must be loud and clear – we must see more ambition.

The news that virtually none of our KP Ministerial friends will be joining us is highly distressing. The KP matters, both politically and practically.  The Protocol is the mechanism that demonstrated and institutionalised political leadership from developed countries. The second commitment period and a commitment to increase ambition from ALL developed countries pre-2020 was a key part of the package in Durban that resulted in the launch of the ADP. 

It’s not just ECO asking for more ambition. We think the Antarctic ice sheet melt might have been a sign that Ministers should do more, or perhaps that the cacophony of voices around the IPCC fifth assessment report analysis would have spurred them into action.

So where is developed country leadership right now? ECO reviews the state of play.

Those still making it legal….

EU, here we are again: "yes, but." Yes, Europe has made a real effort and arguably leads the world on climate action. It's on track to overshoot KP commitments and can boast during today's ministerial. But only a few key political supporters blocked tougher targets from becoming a reality. Those deeper 2020 cuts could surely (and still can) be met. And if they aren't, it sets Europe back for the post-2020 period by forcing lower ambition, while leaving excess credits in the system that will be held over to make compliance easier and ultimately undermining real decarbonisation.

Norway, with your wealth and high potential for renewables, you of all countries should be able to show that securing prosperity without destroying the climate is possible. But that means planning for life beyond oil and no longer wreaking havoc via your state-owned company Statoil pursuing ever dirtier and riskier oil in the Arctic and in the Canadian tar sands business. Drop your double-standard on climate action.

Australia, Tony Abbott's messed it up again. The latest rumour ECO has heard is that the G20 will exclude climate change from the agenda. Did Tony not notice the strong signals sent by two G20 members about cutting emissions and regulating coal? Ha! If anything should be excluded, it should be mining and burning more coal. But from a country that has a measly 5% reduction target for 2020, ECO is not surprised and might be laughing but for the impact of that dirty coal…

Those who jumped ship

Japan, Canada, New Zealand and Russia: it’s the same old song, so we won’t sing it. But we all do know how it goes.

That one big country that never did join in the end….

USA gave a great big kick to coal at the beginning of this week. ECO supposes it’s better late than never, but there is still a lot of ground to make up and greater cuts to be made. So keep going and this time, be sure to bring it to the party!

Clearly the developed world still has a lot of work to do to fulfil its ‘leading’ role. A lack of ambition from developed countries could be the perfect excuse, were any country seeking one, for avoiding commitments or ambitious actions in the future. But ECO is confident that no country will stoop to such crass opportunism. All countries are now fully aware of the scale of the global effort required and the need for urgent, ambitious and equitable actions. In Mexico and Indonesia, more action is underway. 

The game is on Minsters, there are less than 500 days left to get your act together.  So step up and deliver.

 

 

 

Related Newsletter : 

Dear Japan:

Hello and welcome, Mr. Japanese Minister!

We would like to introduce ourselves, as we did not have a chance to meet you here in Warsaw.

We have met the Japanese ministers at every Conference of the Parties since COP 2, held in 1996. We are wondering why the honorable Minister of Japan did not have the time to meet us in civil society this time around, and explain Japan's new ‘ambitious’ emissions target of 3.1% above 1990 levels by 2020 .

We are looking forward to meeting you in Lima, and hoping by then you can present a truly ambitious target of which you could be proud!

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Don't Drop the Ball, Japan!

Even with help from friends and governments around the world, ECO can’t quite convey its outrage at Japan’s latest actions. The newly revised 2020 target announced by Japan yesterday is a 3.1% increase of carbon emissions compared to 1990 levels. That’s a huge increase from Japan’s Kyoto first commitment period target (-6% from 1990). The new target allows Japan to revert to business-as-usual by 2020. Forget about climate – welcome to the race to the bottom.

Even more surprising is that Japan seems to consider the target ‘ambitious’ based on its announcement materials. ECO wonders if Japan forgot the qualifier ‘raising’ that goes along with the ‘ambition.’ It’s simple maths, really. Targets should be in line with reducing the risk of devastating climate change (staying well below 2°C). When Japan decreased its target, it abdicated its ambition, further widening the gigatonne gap and leaving it for others will have to fill.  
A growing number of people are fasting with a hope to have meaningful outcome from this COP, but Japan is betraying them and putting vulnerable countries in greater danger.

According to the Climate Action Tracker, the revision of the target will add another 356 MtCO2e/year to the atmosphere and widen the global emissions gap by 3-4%. That is a measurable burden for all those who live with the reality of climate change every day, when the world instead needs decisive and immediate actions to raise ambition, not to lower it.   

The Government of Japan attributes the rollback of ambition to the shutdown of nuclear power plants, but that isn’t the real story. There are plenty of options such as energy efficiency and renewable energy that can reduce Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions in order for Japan to keep its 25% reduction pledge.

What’s missing in Japan is political will and a heart to care; in its place, a soul-less industrial lobby. The official responses to Japan from the EU, AOSIS and the UK declared deep disappointment and cautions about the ramifications on international mitigation action. People rushed to Japanese embassies to show their condemnation.

Japan should know this will render it being considered irrelevant in these talks.  It’s heading in the direction of its Brolly colleague Canada.  It no longer has skin in the game, nothing to play with and no political leverage.  Japan needs to reconsider its target immediately, upward and forward.

Still, there is one more thing. This has been announced as a "tentative" target. In due course, a chance remain for Japan to come back with a truly ambitious target in order to build momentum to close the gap – and not relying on or making excuses because of nuclear. Don’t drop the ball, Japan!

 

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EU: When 40 Is Only 33

Coming to Warsaw, ECO was feeling somewhat optimistic. Fresh statistics suggested that global CO2 emissions growth has slowed a bit, which could be the first sign of an approaching emissions peak. In September, China announced took a major positive step -- a direction change in its coal policy. Three key industrial provinces must peak and decline coal consumption by 2017 and ban new dirty coal plants.

But then came the damaging announcements by Australia and Japan, whose shifts are in the negative direction.
After a week like this, we certainly don’t need more bad news.  But according to rumours, the European Commission is preparing a proposal for a 2030 climate target of a meagre 40% reduction against 1990 levels.

The EU has long been seen as setting a global high water mark on ambition.  Yet now it is undermining its own objective to keep global temperature below 2°C.

Yes, 40% seems like a lot – so let’s explain what this means.  A 40% target for 2030 would in practice bring the EU on a pathway towards real emission cuts of merely 33% by 2030 due to the amount of surplus emission allowances in the system.  Indeed, in order to accommodate the huge oversupply of surplus pollution permits in the EU’s carbon market, any 2030 target would need to be 7% stricter.

Instead, the proposed level would be inadequate to steer the EU’s energy system away from coal, or to drive transformational investments into renewables and energy savings. Instead of investing in clean technologies, EU industries can largely escape meaningful pollution pricing and rely on the overhang of surplus emission allowances on the EU’s carbon market well into the next decade. Fortunately, 40% is not the only number in the mix. The UK has called for an EU target of 50% by 2030, while Finland’s environment minister stated the EU’s fair share is between 40% and 60% emissions cuts by 2030.

The EU “Green Growth” group, consisting of the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania and Estonia, have called for an ambitious EU emissions reduction offer to be put on the table before Ban Ki-moon’s leaders summit in 2014.

So when the European Commission publishes its policy proposal in January and EU leaders discuss it during the EU summit in March 2014, they must insure that the rumour of 40% (remember, that's effectively 33%) doesn’t turn into any kind of reality.

The spotlight is really on Germany, where coalition talks are also rumoured to be considering a minimum 40% climate target by 2030. Germany, of all countries, should know how important it is to get the incentives and infrastructure correct across Europe in order to deliver its own Energiewende – and a 40% target wouldn’t do that. Climate Action Network Europe is calling on the EU to commit to at least 55% domestic emission cuts by 2030, on top of which would come the EU’s international effort. Moreover, a binding EU renewable target of at least 45% and an energy savings target of 40% are needed to provide certainty for investors and drive  true transformation of the energy system.

Does the Commission have in mind any kind of equity indicators whatsoever when planning for a 40% target?  And how big a global emissions budget is assumed? It doesn’t sound like the EU is assuming anything that would give a reasonable chance of staying below 1.5/2°C.  

To be sure, the EU has a long-term emission reduction goal of 80 to 95% reductions from 1990 levels by 2050. Achieving this would be in the EU’s own economic interests as well as inspiring others to follow suit – a real ‘ambition driver’. But 40% by 2030, with all the loopholes in the system, would take the EU off track. We will hear reassuring voices next week as ministers arrive, but what will they be assuring us?  We need to see the EU we have until recently known – all about ambition, action and the clean energy future.

 

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