Countermeasures for Global Warming Need Bold Concessions from the US and China
Translated By Ethan Ferraro
26 November 2012
Edited by Jane Lee
Japan - Nikkei - Original Article (Japanese)
The 18th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will be held on Nov. 26 in Doha, Qatar. All of the countries of the world will participate and engage in the lowering of greenhouse gas emissions, and international discussions aiming to implement a new system of cooperation will start.
This meeting takes place immediately following the re-election of President Obama in the United States and a new leadership taking over in China. As the two major producers of greenhouse gases, they should be making bold concessions in order to build a practical system for stopping global warming.
The making of this system was supposed to have started after the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that was held in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2009. However, questions over whether countries such as China and India, which have rapidly increased carbon dioxide emissions, should be obligated to participate in this reduction resulted in it ending with intense disagreements between advanced and emerging nations.
The full-fledged negotiations that are set to begin at the end of the year are going forward under the premise of putting this new system into place by 2020, and so they are aiming for the new system’s framework to be agreed upon by 2015. However, the fact that these countries are still trying to push the obligations of stopping global warming onto each other has not fundamentally changed, and future prospects look grave.
Nevertheless, products and technologies that place smaller burdens on the environment such as natural energy sources and environmentally friendly automobiles are steadily spreading, and green industries are showing growth globally. In the United States, natural gas taken from shale is substituting for oil in the production of electricity and is producing new circumstances that are affecting their attitude in negotiations. These countries must have more constructive discussions.
Japan is in the position where lowering their greenhouse gas emissions a significant amount is difficult due to the experience of suffering through a large earthquake and nuclear accident.
The problem is the lack of policies from the government. The former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama stated, “We will reduce emissions by 25 percent of the 1990 level by 2020.” This statement has been changed somewhat to conform to reality, but energy policy has not been decided. And even now, no debates on new objectives have started. Moreover, the draft for the fundamental laws for global warming countermeasures was rejected during an extraordinary session of the Diet, and so new laws have lost their legal backing.
It is necessary for new targets for long-term energy policy and reduction of greenhouse gases, which have become divided issues, to be quickly decided upon, and necessary measures must be taken domestically. International commitments with no serious intention of being put into practice will lead to international negotiations that do not go the way we need them to go.
This summer, the loss of ice throughout all areas of Greenland in the Arctic Circle was confirmed. Climate-related disasters such as the enormous storms that have assaulted North America are increasing in frequency. Even while international negotiations are at a standstill, global warming is steadily advancing.
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