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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Kyoto's Legacy Up In Smoke As Japan Slashes Climate Action

      
Photo: David Tong, Adopt A Negotiator

Today, Japan slashed its 2020 emission reduction target - with the new pledge equating to a 3.1% INCREASE in pollution from 1990 levels. The UNFCCC is about  negotiating to raise the level of climate action, so this must be a bad joke! 

In 2009, Japan announced an emissions reduction of 25% below 1990 levels by 2020. We urge all Japanese delegates to read the IPCC report and do their math again and reconsider their commitment to this prehistoric target. The new target is a backwards step compared to Tokyo's pledge in the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, which was -6% from 1990. 

How is Japan expecting to contribute to raising the international level of ambition if the third largest economy says it can only increase their emissions? To add insult to injury, it looks like Japan, who has contributed to the climate crisis  and has the means to contribute to solving it, is trying to hide weak ambition behind strong rhetoric. There are no excuses, we know you can do better. We don’t want nuclear power and don’t want climate change. Please reconsider and come back with target that is really ambitious!

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 850 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 100 working to promote government and individual action to limit human0induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org 

About the fossils: The Fossil of the Day awards were first presented at the climate talks in 1999, in Bonn, initiated by the German NGO Forum. During United Nations climate change negotiations (www.unfccc.int), members of the Climate Action Network (CAN), vote for countries judged to have done their 'best' to block progress in the negotiations in the last days of talks. 

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Global Civil Society Responds to Japan’s New 2020 Target

Japan announced its new 2020 emissions reduction target today at the UN climate negotiations in Poland. While parties are negotiating to raise the level of ambition during this year’s meeting, Japan has now abandoned their 25% reduction target from 1990, and proposed 3.1% increase compared to 1990 levels.

Wael Hmaidan, Director of CAN International said in a statement, “Japan's new targets are outrageous. This will have a serious and negative impact on the negotiations. Withdrawing from climate action is like a slap in the face of those suffering from the impacts of climate change such as the Philippines.”
 
Civil society was expecting more from the world’s third largest economic country, but instead they are racing to the bottom.
 
According to Japanese Climate Action Network spokesperson, Kimiko Hirata “Stopping nuclear power is not a legitimate reason for lowering their target. There are countries putting ambitious targets shifting their energy source from nuclear to renewables.”
 
To abandon the 25% emission reduction target and put forward a target with increased emissions is a betrayal to the international community. One of the most important issues at this year’s negotiations is to address the gap between the mitigation pledges of Parties and the emission reduction needed to keep the average global surface temperature rise to 2℃ from pre-industrial levels.
 
Another problematic country at these negotiations has been Australia, which tabled legislation to repeal their price on carbon.

Australian civil society is taking to the streets on Sunday to oppose their government’s announcements.

ON DEMAND WEBCAST of  'COLOURFUL STUNT' DURING PRESS CONFERENCE AVAILABLE HERE:  http://unfccc4.meta-fusion.com/kongresse/cop19/templ/play.php?id_kongres...

Contact:  Ria Voorhaar, Email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org, +49 157 317 355 68.

 

 

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Media Advisory -Civil Society Responds as Japan Slashes Climate Action

Warsaw, Poland - November 15, 2013: Japan will be handed a special "Fossil Of the Day" award at a colorful press conference today at which civil society will slam Japan's decision to slash its mitigation target. 

Japan is the second rich country this week to walk away from climate action, with Australia tabling legislation to repeal its carbon price earlier this week.  

At the press conference, activists will perform a powerful visual stunt highlighting the hurtful timing of Japan and Australia's announcements given the disaster in the Philippines which overshadowed the opening of the UN climate negotiations this week. 

Speakers will then provide a reaction and analysis to Japan's announcement. 

Who:

  • Kimiko Hirata, director, CAN Japan - will respond to Japan's announcement;
  • Wael Hmaidan, director, CAN International - who will reflect on the first week of the negotiations and the international context of Japan's announcement; 
  • Marion Vieweg, Climate Analytics - who will present an analysis on what Japan's announcement means in terms of overall climate action;
  • Heather Bruer, Australian Youth Climate Coalition - on the national day of action being held in Australia in response to Canberra's axing of their climate action plan. 

What:  A visual stunt, followed by reaction and analysis to Japan's decision to slash climate action.

When: 11am-12pmCET, today Friday November 15th.

Where: COP19 Venue, National Stadium Warsaw, Press Conference Room 2 located on Level -2/Zone E6, right next to Plenary 2.

The press conference will also be webcast live here: http://unfccc4.meta-fusion.com/kongresse/adp02/templ/ovw_live.php?id_kongressmain=241

Contact:

For more information or for one-on-one interviews with the NGO experts, please contact Climate Action Network International’s communications coordinator Ria Voorhaar on +49 (0) 157 317 35568 or rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org

Climate Action Network (CAN) is the world’s largest network of civil society organizations working together to promote government action to address the climate crisis, with more than 850 members in over 100 countries. 

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