Enhancing Domestic Climate Policy

Geographical location:

Asia/Pacific > East Asia > Japan

Climate campaign.
© WWF Japan

Summary

There is now a widespread acknowledgement of the need to keep the global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. In order to achieve this goal, a significant reduction in global CO2 emissions is necessary by 2030. Energy supply and use must be changed to achieve a switch to a low carbon economy.

The mid-term goal is 10% reduction in CO2 emissions by developed nations by 2010, compared to 1990. WWF aims to introduce a domestic emission trading scheme in Japan in the next review period, which will take place in 2007.

Background

The global temperature has risen by 0.8 degree Celsius in the past 100 years and its effects have already been well recognized. Climate experts forecast that if the rise is kept below 2 degrees Celsius the worst scenario is avoided. However, if emissions are maintained at the present level the temperature wiil rise by a further 0.6 degree.

In 2005 the Kyoto Protocol finally came into force. At the same time negotiations over a framework after 2013 were commenced. In 2007 the IPCC is expected to publish its 4th assessment report. In 2008, the G8 Summit will be held in Japan and the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol begins.

In 2002 Japan ratified the Protocol by amending the Guideline of Measures to Prevent Global Warming. In 2005 the government approved its plan to achieve the Kyoto Protocol target. In 2007 this will be reviewed and evaluated to see whether new policies are necessary to achieve the target.

However, as of 2005, the emission level of Japan is 8% more than the 1990 level, whereas Japan’s commitment to the Protocol is to reduce by just 6% compared to 1990. It is therefore necessary that Japan introduces drastic measures.

Objectives

- Ensure inclusion of economic measures (e.g. domestic emission dealing and environmental tax) in the plan to achieve the Kyoto Protocol target.

- 8% reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) by 2010 from the power sector, by energy efficiency and increase of renewable energies. (8% comes from the PowerSwitch energy scenario "Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reduction Potential in Japan’s Power Sector").

- Raise the target of renewable natural energy use in Japan amending the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).

- Ensure a company’s approach to the prevention of global warming becomes an important criteria for investment by financial institutions. This should be a persuasive argument to major corporations, particularly in the power sector.

- Ensure green electricity supply is possible when the electricity market is opened up.

Solution

By March 2006

- Raise awareness on an CO2 emission trading scheme among companies.

- Look for corporations interested in a domestic emission trading scheme and form a study group.

- Publish the Japanese version of "Ranking Power - Scorecards Electricity Companies".

By March 2007

- Prepare a proposal for the introduction of a domestic emission trading scheme before the 2nd step is reviewed in 2007.

- Observe council meetings.

- Promote renewable natural energies and green power in connection with the review of the RPS target and the liberalization of the electric power market.

By March 2008

- Aim to have a domestic emission trading system introduced for the 1st commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

- Publish the Japanese version of the Energy Task Force Report.

Achievement

By March 2006

- Held 3 seminars on emission trading covering the following: internal emission trading by companies; European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS); and updated information on the review of the EU ETS National Allocation Plan (NAP); Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) of the United States; and the ongoing emission trading scheme in New South Wales in Australia. All of the seminars were well received with 60-70 attendants.

- Visited several financial companies interested in starting business with CO2 reduction credits and academic researchers interested in introducing the system in Japan.

By March 2007

- Conducted a questionnaire on a domestic emissions trading scheme. Of 600 companies, 200 responded, with a significant number indicating that an emission trading system is necessary and would be effective in Japan.

- Established a Study Group of Companies on Design of the Emissions Trading Scheme. Held 3 seminars in July, August and October to obtain industry views on the rules for a domestic emissions trading scheme in Japan.

- Commissioned a domestic emissions trading scheme in the Japanese context from Prof. Morotomi of Kyoto University with support of 2 experts.

- The proposal was publicized after incorporating policies for the transport and household sectors. It was publicized at a study group meeting held at the Parliamentarian’s Hall with participation of congressmen, government officials, researchers, corporations and media (March 2007).

- The new RPS target was increased slightly from 1.35% by 2010 to 1.63% by 2014.

By March 2009

- A trial scheme of emissions trading was launched since October, 2008. This was mainly because then Prime Minister Fukuda had to show something to impress international society and he picked up emissions trading. However, this was also in part because of WWF Japan’s continued work on promoting cap&trade since 2004. WWF Japan has been one of the few forces to push stringent cap&trade in Japan and without WWF’s promotion, emissions trading as a climate policy could have not been this famous.

- WWF Japan was invited to participate in a study group organizied by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). The study group’s purpose was to discuss post-2012 domestic climate policies and it was factually a advisory group to METI’s policy making. It is rare for environmental NGOs like WWF Japan to be asked to be part of such group and it showed that WWF Japan’s status in emissions trading discussion had acquired certain recognition even in industry-oriented ministry.

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