New Delhi: India and China have expressed disappointment over an announcement by Japan that it would cut its greenhouse gas emissions by just 15% from 2005 levels by 2020. The proposed cut is way lower than the 25% reduction the Asian economic powerhouse had been looking at until now.
Japan is the world’s fifth largest emitter of greenhouse gasses.
The 2020 target is equivalent to a cut of 8% below 1990 emission levels. Under the Kyoto Protocol, Japan has committed to cutting emissions by 6% for the 2008-12 period from 1990 levels but has struggled to meet that goal. Japan announced its decision at the ongoing UN-led climate talks in Bonn, Germany. These negotiations are a precursor to a meeting of countries in Copenhagen in December to negotiate a treaty to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
“We hope this is just a negotiating position and not final. If this is what Japan is going to reduce, then there is just no way that the richer countries can ask developing nations to cut emissions,” said a senior Indian government official requesting anonymity.
Environmental groups have also criticized Japan’s emission cut target. “We have waited a long time for Japan to finally inform the world about its emissions plans; and today we were presented something dangerously lacking any level of ambition,” said Kim Carstensen, leader of the World Wildlife Fund’s Climate Initiative, at the Bonn negotiations.
Yu Qingtai, China’s climate ambassador also came down on Japan’s decision. At the sidelines of the negotiations, Qingtai said, “Developing countries are victims of global warming created by many years of cumulative emissions by the developed countries in their process of industrialization. I do not believe it is a number that is close to what Japan needs to do, should do.”
Countries such as India and China have been asking for a 40% cut in emissions below 1990 levels by 2020 from the developed nations.
Reuters contributed to this story.