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2012年12月13日 (木)

COP18閉幕 新たな枠組みへ戦略を練れ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 13, 2012)
Govt must reshape strategy for new CO2 framework
COP18閉幕 新たな枠組みへ戦略を練れ(12月12日付・読売社説)

The latest U.N. climate change conference, it may be said, was noteworthy only because of the confrontation between industrialized nations and emerging and developing countries over measures to tackle global warming.

The 18th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change has ended in Doha after agreeing on a plan to create a new framework for rules on cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to replace the Kyoto Protocol. But overall, COP18 produced poor results.

The target is for the new framework to be adopted in 2015 and enforced in 2020. A crucial stage is expected to come in one or two years, but negotiations face a bumpy road ahead.

Emerging and developing countries oppose mandatory emission cuts, arguing they would hamper their economic growth. Maintaining this stance in COP18, they called on the industrialized nations to increase their financial support for their efforts to reduce emissions. The industrialized nations, mired in their own fiscal problems, responded negatively, thereby kicking the can down the road.

The United States has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, which obliges only the industrialized nations to reduce greenhouse emissions. Emissions discharged by Japan and EU member nations, which are obliged to cut back on carbon dioxide, account for less than 30 percent of the world's total.


Full participation vital

It is most important in a new framework to obtain participation of all principal emission-producing countries, including China and the United States--the two biggest emitters.

Japan attended the COP18 without changing its commitment to "reducing emissions 25 percent by 2020 compared with the 1990 level," a goal that is impossible to attain, but did not present any clear plans to achieve this.

The 25 percent cut was announced abruptly three years ago by then Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama. He made the pledge on the premise that a fair framework would be formulated with the participation of main emission-producing countries. But, as was feared, only the numerical target itself attracted worldwide attention.

Furthermore, the achievement of this goal was premised on construction of additional nuclear power stations, which produce no carbon dioxide. But in the wake of the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant that was triggered by last year's earthquake and tsunami, it is impossible to expect construction of new nuclear plants for the time being.


Inconsistent policy to blame

Moreover, restarting nuclear reactors whose operation has been suspended has made no progress under the administration of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who has put forth a policy of ending reliance on nuclear power generation in the 2030s. While little progress has been made to reduce greenhouse gases, the ratio of electricity produced at thermal power stations, which produce a great amount of carbon dioxide, has been rising significantly.

This resulted from the inconsistent energy policy pursued by the DPJ-led administration.

COP18 agreed to extend the Kyoto Protocol, which was to expire this year, until 2020. Without making any commitment for the extended period, Japan will proceed with emission cuts voluntarily until a new framework takes effect.

The new government inaugurated after the forthcoming House of Representatives election must set a realistic target for emission cuts to replace the current one and reshape a strategy for international negotiations on the matter.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 12, 2012)
(2012年12月12日01時22分  読売新聞)


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