Tokyo: Japan on Wednesday unveiled a more ambitious target to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, vowing a reduction of 15% from its 2005 level.
Prime Minister Taro Aso said Japan’s new target matches the levels pledged by the European Union and the US.
Aso’s announcement comes as delegates around the world meet in Bonn, Germany, this week for the latest round of climate change talks. The ongoing talks are to culminate in December in the Danish capital of Copenhagen with a new agreement to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
Japan’s new target represents about a 7% cut when compared with 1990 — the year previously used as an international baseline. It had announced before that it would cut roughly 4% from that year’s level.
Wednesday’s announcement put Tokyo closer in line with other major industrialized countries. It puts Japan above both the EU and US targets compared with their 2005 levels, and somewhere between the two under the 1990 baseline.
The EU has set its 2020 reduction target at 20% below 1990 levels, which is equivalent of a cut of about 14% from 2005 levels. President Barack Obama’s pledge to bring US emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020 is an equivalent of 14% from 2005.
The expected Copenhagen agreement will succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which expires in four years. The Kyoto accord required 37 industrial countries to cut their emissions by a total 5% from 1990 levels.
The expected new accord will set targets for industrial countries to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants, and will call on developing countries to curb the growth of their carbon dioxide emissions while their economies continue to expand. It also will set out ways to raise tens of billions of dollars to help poor countries adapt to climate change.
With six months left, talks are divided between the developed and emerging countries. Obligations taken on by fast-expanding economies like China, India and Brazil are considered key to the agreement.
Developing nations are pledging to slow the growth of their emissions, as long as they get the funds and technology from advanced countries to keep their economies growing sustainably. They also demand that together the rich countries reduce their emissions within a 25 to 40% range from 1990 levels by 2020.