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Messages from Keidanren Executives October, 2015 Expectation for COP21

Yasushi KIMURA Vice Chair, Keidanren
Chairman of the Board, JX Holdings, Inc.

While Japan experienced record-high hot days this summer, the rest of the world also witnessed a sign of evident global warming. According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average global temperature from January to July 2015 broke the record. Now, the challenge of climate change is an urgent issue that shall be addressed globally.

In November this year, the 21st Session of the Conference of Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is to be held in Paris. Participating countries to COP21 will aim to reach an international agreement on a post-2020 framework for tackling global warming. Japan's intended nationally determined contribution (INDC): 26% reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by fiscal year (FY) 2030 compared to FY 2013, with which I was engaged for planning, was already submitted. Given INDCs of major emitters are on the table, international negotiations are virtually getting underway.

Regrettably, it hardly seems that Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997 is effective and fair because the scheme failed to include the two biggest emitters: the U.S. and China, and many of participants' reduction targets by top-down approach were set without feasibility of specific countermeasures. I hereby suggest the essence of the objective at COP21 should not be competition for the size of targets between participants, but establishment of a framework that is determined by bottom-up approach: accumulating concrete policies and actual reductions of all the participating nations.

Meanwhile, negotiations at COP21 should be an excellent opportunity for exhibiting Japan's contribution to the international community as "an advanced nation with solutions to emerging issues." Needless to say, innovative technology holds the key to significantly reduce GHG emissions. Japan has developed energy-conservation / low-carbon technologies that enabled us to improve energy efficiency by approximately 40% for the past 40 years since the oil crises. Japan, however, accounts for only 3% of the global GHG emissions. Given these circumstances, we should make it clear that our stance on tackling climate change issues is technology transfer to developing countries looking for technological assistance.

In addition, as Chair nation of Kyoto Protocol, Japan has led international negotiations in the early stages and taken initiatives on directing discussions over a post-2020 framework. By taking pride in these past achievements, Japan can be a tough negotiator that will convince as many countries as possible including the U.S. and China to participate in the new effective framework. As Keidanren delegate to COP21, I will endeavor to support the Japanese Government for successful negotiations.