Japan reverses 'unfeasible' 2020 CO2 targets

15th November 2013

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Mitigation ,
  • Reporting



The Japanese government has announced it will not cut carbon emissions on 1990 levels by 2020, as Canadian government praises Australian PM's attempt to repeal carbon tax

As representatives from UN governments meet in Poland to begin negotiations on a successor to the Kyoto agreement, three of the world’s major economies have signaled they are reining back on ambitions to cut greenhouse-gases (GHG).

The Japanese government has confirmed it is abandoning its 2020 target to reduce carbon emissions by 25% on 1990 levels, with its chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga labeling the target set by the preceding administration as “totally unfounded”.

The move is partly prompted by the closure of all of Japan’s nuclear power plants for safety and maintenance checks following the Fukishima disaster. Nuclear facilities generated 25% of the Japan’s electricity and the country is now importing huge amounts of fossil fuels to meet energy demand.

The government has set a new 2020 target based on having no nuclear power in future. This will see carbon emission cut by just 3.8% on 2005 figures, resulting in annual emissions 3% higher than in 1990.

UK energy secretary Ed Davey described the announcement by the Japanese government as “deeply disappointing” , and urged it to reconsider the decision.

“This announcement runs counter to the broader political commitment to tackle climate change, recently reaffirmed by G8,” he said. “As the world’s third largest economy, Japan needs to be at the forefront of taking ambitious action.

“I appreciate the difficult political task that the government of Japan has in realigning the country’s domestic energy policies in the wake of [Fukishima]. But a shift of this magnitude at this time represents a major step backwards. In the UK, we are clear that nuclear is an integral part of our low-carbon energy mix. I would also underline the opportunities that energy efficiency and renewable energy afford in determining Japan’s future energy mix.”

In a more positive move, Suga reaffirmed its long-term emissions reduction target of 80% by 2050, and Davey called on the Japanese government to set an ambitious 2030 target to signal how it is going to achieve this.

Meanwhile, the newly elected prime minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, has introduced a bill to repeal the country’s carbon tax, which imposes a levy on Australia’s most polluting firms. Under the tax, which was introduced by the previous government on 1 July 2012, organisations must pay AUS$24 per tonne of carbon emitted.

Abbott pledged to scrap the tax as one of his campaign policies, and argues that the result of the general means the electorate agrees that the tax should be repealed. In a discussion on the tax last week, Abbot said: “I am utterly determined – and the new government is absolutely committed – to the repeal of the carbon tax.

“By any standards, the recent election was a referendum on the carbon tax and the Australian people unequivocally said let’s get rid of this thing.

“The carbon tax is costing jobs. It’s raising households’ cost of living. It’s making business less secure. It’s damaging our competitiveness. That’s why it’s got to go and as far as I’m concerned, it will go as quickly as possible.”

While the bill to repeal the carbon tax is expected to be passed by the lower house of the Australian parliament, where Abbott’s ruling coalition has a majority, the tax cannot be abolished unless the senate also agrees, and both the Labour party and the Green party oppose the change.

Abbott’s attempts to repeal Australia’s carbon tax has received support from the Canadian government, which pulled out of its commitment under the Kyoto protocol during the UN negotiations in Durban two years ago.

“Carbon taxes raise the price of everything, including gas, groceries, and electricity,” said Paul Calandra, the parliamentary secretary to Canada’s prime minister. “Canada applauds the decision by Tony Abbott to introduce legislation to repeal Australia’s carbon tax. It will be noticed around the world and sends an important message.”


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Majority of environmental professionals fear green skills gap

Almost three-fifths of UK environmental professionals feel there is a green skills gap across the country’s workforce, or that there will be, a new survey has uncovered.

4th July 2024

Read more

Climate hazards such as flooding, droughts and extreme heat are threatening eight in 10 of the world’s cities, new research from CDP has uncovered.

3rd July 2024

Read more

Ahead of the UK general election next month, IEMA has analysed the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, and Green Party manifestos in relation to the sustainability agenda.

19th June 2024

Read more

Nine in 10 UK adults do not fully trust brands to accurately portray their climate commitments or follow the science all the time, a new survey has uncovered.

19th June 2024

Read more

Just one in 20 workers aged 27 and under have the skills needed to help drive the net-zero transition, compared with one in eight of the workforce as a whole, new LinkedIn data suggests.

18th June 2024

Read more

With a Taskforce on Inequality and Social-related Financial Disclosures in the pipeline, Beth Knight talks to Chris Seekings about increased recognition of social sustainability

6th June 2024

Read more

Disinformation about the impossibility of averting the climate crisis is part of an alarming turn in denialist tactics, writes David Burrows

6th June 2024

Read more

David Symons, FIEMA, director of sustainability at WSP, and IEMA’s Lesley Wilson, tell Chris Seekings why a growing number of organisations are turning to nature-based solutions to meet their climate goals

6th June 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close