The international effort to reduce greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, is poised to enter a new stage.
It has become certain that the Paris Agreement, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol, will soon come into effect.
For the agreement to come into force, 55 or more signatories must ratify it, and the total emissions produced by the ratifying nations must account for 55 percent or more of global emissions. The European Parliament has approved ratification by the European Union, which has fulfilled the necessary conditions for the agreement to enter into force.
The Kyoto Protocol needed eight years before it came into effect. The Paris Agreement will do so in less than one year after it was adopted.
Earth’s average temperature continues to rise. Extremely powerful typhoons have occurred one after another, and torrential rain in localized areas is also occurring frequently. These kinds of extreme weather events are thought to be influenced by global warming.
For the international community to work closely together to deal with climate change issues, the Paris Agreement’s early entry into force should be welcomed.
The Kyoto Protocol obligated only developed nations to reduce their emissions.
Under the Paris Agreement, each country establishes its own voluntary targets and will strive to reduce its emissions. Because this is a flexible framework under which every country is not obliged to take certain steps, it can be said to be the realization of international rules in which all nations can participate. The United States and China — the world’s two largest emitters — have already ratified the agreement.
Japan must swiftly ratify.
With application of the agreement due to begin in 2020, it is important to make it an effective mechanism that leads to a reduction of emissions around the entire world.
The 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change will start in Morocco on Nov. 7. At the meeting, detailed discussions will begin on issues including verification methods for emission volume targets submitted by each nation.
Japan also must swiftly ratify the agreement so it can take part in these talks. The government plans to have the Cabinet approve a ratification bill as soon as Oct. 11, and to submit the bill to the ongoing Diet session.
A nation cannot officially participate in discussions on making rules for implementing the agreement unless 30 days have passed since that nation ratified it. Japan, which has stressed the necessity of a fair framework, will be unable to make its presence felt if it is left out of the loop.
At a meeting of the House of Councillors Budget Committee, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, “I will do my utmost to get this concluded as quickly as possible.”
Japan’s target is a 26 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by fiscal 2030 from fiscal 2013 levels. Reducing carbon dioxide emissions results in energy saving. While continuing to give heed to economic activity, Japan needs to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and lower the costs of renewable energy.
Use of nuclear power generation, which does not emit carbon dioxide, also will be essential.
The government aims to realize a highly energy-efficient society so it can reduce emissions in 2050 by 80 percent from current levels. In addition to raising awareness among citizens, the development of revolutionary technologies will be essential to achieve this. Japan’s ongoing challenge to meet this goal also could contribute to a cut in the entire world’s emissions.