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2015年12月16日 (水)

パリ協定採択 世界全体で目標を達成しよう

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Close global cooperation needed to achieve Paris accord emissions targets
パリ協定採択 世界全体で目標を達成しよう

The agreement by all participating countries to work toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a significant step forward in dealing with global warming.

The 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) ended in Paris on Saturday after adopting the Paris agreement, a framework designed to take effect in 2020.

The Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997 called only on developed countries to carry out emissions cuts, but this time all parties are obliged to make efforts to curtail emissions in line with nationally determined goals. The new framework does not make it mandatory to achieve targets and is a loose structure, but calls for reexamining them every five years to make further efforts to cut emissions.

The Paris agreement aims to hold the rise of the world’s average temperature to “well below 2 C above preindustrial levels.” It also mentioned a commitment to “below 1.5 C above preindustrial levels,” which was demanded by island countries, as a target for which efforts must be made. Both these goals will be hard to achieve.

The effectiveness of the agreement will be put to the test with regard to how each country can achieve its target and whether it can raise its target further.

Endeavors by emerging countries are key to cutting global emissions as a whole. China and India, among other nations, argued that “our per capita energy consumption is small and we are developing countries.”

The fact remains, however, that China and India are the world’s top and the third-largest emitters of greenhouse gases, respectively. To fulfill their responsibilities, the two countries must make greater efforts to curb emissions without limiting their efforts to nationally determined contributions.

Realistic choice

During the Paris conference, developing nations called on developed countries to increase their financial assistance and technological transfers, arguing that they “became rich as a result of consuming huge quantities of fossil fuels.”

The agreement made it mandatory for developed nations to assist developing countries but did not put a monetary value on such assistance. Annual assistance of ¥100 billion in 2020 and onward was incorporated in a separate document of a nonbinding agreement. A realistic judgment by developing nations that placed priority on the conclusion of an agreement is laudable.

Using such assistance to carry out measures to fight global warming is important. It also is necessary to ensure transparency of this assistance and work out a system to verify its effectiveness.

Japan proposed a “bilateral credit system” under which Japan would assist in the energy-saving measures of developing countries, with portions of emissions curbed calculated as its own. The scheme, adopted as part of the agreement, was the outcome of diplomatic efforts by Japanese officials.

Japan has already agreed to apply the bilateral credit system to 16 countries, including Mongolia and Bangladesh. Assistance in the energy-saving efforts of developing countries has greater cost-effectiveness than measures taken domestically. The application of the system must be expanded positively.

Japan’s target is to reduce emissions by 26 percent in fiscal 2030 from the levels in fiscal 2013. Reliance on coal and other fossil fuels must be corrected. It is essential to promote the reactivation and new construction of nuclear power plants to lower the cost of renewable energy generation.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 15, 2015)


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