Statement by Minister of the Environment, Japan Goshi Hosono
December 7, 2011
Thank you, Madame President.
At the outset, on behalf of the Government and people of Japan, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the initiative and leadership undertaken by Madame President, Her Excellency, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and the government of Republic of South Africa.
This year, Japan has experienced the East Japan Great Earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushima nuclear power plant accident. People of Japan have made maximum efforts in concert to cope with these tragedies. Let me take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude for warm supports provided us from all over the world.
These 9 months since March 11, I have worked, as the Minister responsible for the recovery from the nuclear accident, towards the settlement of the tragedy together with on-site workers. Now we are making every effort to accomplish so called “cold shutdown”, one of the goals toward the settlement of the accident in the nuclear power plant by the end of this year. I am confident that we will recover steadily from the accident.
Under such a difficult situation, people of Japan continue to have a willingness to tackle climate change and contribute to global actions.
In these years we have frequently observed extreme weather and extraordinary natural disasters, which make us think of influences of climate change. We do not have much time left. We must take urgent actions at global scale.
I would like to emphasize that our global efforts to address the issue of climate change should aim at reducing greenhouse gases emissions of the entire world at least 50% by 2050, recognizing that the increase in global average temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius.
In order to achieve this goal, we have to establish a new, fair and effective legal framework with participation of all major economies. We must take steps forward toward such a future framework.
We should make following three points as major outcomes of this conference.
First, we must operationalize the Cancun Agreements steadily and with a sense of urgency. The Agreements are a solid way to build a foundation toward establishing a future framework.
Second, it is necessary to establish a future framework as soon as possible, without waiting until 2020. Under the future framework, all Parties should undertake some kinds of mitigation obligations. At the same time, we should acknowledge that the contents of mitigation obligations vary among Parties, according to national circumstances. We should establish a new working group as a space for discussions about the framework here in Durban.
Third, in the period beyond 2012 and until the establishment of the future framework, Parties should steadily advance their mitigation efforts, and ensure transparency internationally of their efforts through MRV. We also should proceed to establishing systems including new market mechanisms and REDD+.
In relation to this, Japan launched GOSAT, the only satellite in the world to observe greenhouse gases. Japan, in cooperation with other countries, is willing to contribute to international MRV by observing global climate change and measuring atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations precisely.
We will actively contribute to discussion to reach an agreement on these points in cooperation with South African Presidency.
Kyoto Protocol is a significant milestone as the first step of our concrete efforts to address climate change. However, the global economy and society have rapidly been changing. Today the Kyoto Protocol covers only about one fourth of the global emission. In light of these realities, Japan will not participate in the second commitment period or other equivalent arrangements under the Kyoto Protocol, as it does not contribute to establishing a future comprehensive framework.
On the other hand, it is particularly important for us to utilize some parts of rules and mechanisms developed under the Kyoto Protocol for implementation of Cancun Agreements as well as under the future framework. Japan, as a Party to the Kyoto Protocol, will contribute to the discussion on the rule-based system.
Shutdown of multiple nuclear power plants has posed a challenge for us to achieve our target in the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. I believe that it is still possible to achieve the target with our extraordinary efforts. For example, in this summer, we achieved more than 15% reduction of electricity consumption in east Japan area compared to last year in the midst of recovery from the Japan Great Earthquake. We will continue to address it to the utmost extent.
Japanese government currently considers its new energy best mix plan and climate change policy as two sides of the same coin. This consideration follows strategies to reduce dependency on nuclear power while enhancing the safety of nuclear power, as well as to drastically promote energy efficiency and renewable energy through various measures such as feed-in tariff scheme which will come into force next July.
In addition to establishing a comprehensive international framework, it is important to achieve low-carbon growth all over the world by fully mobilizing technology, market and finance with cooperation between developed and developing countries. We released “Japan’s Vision and Actions toward Low-Carbon Growth and a Climate-Resilient World” as a concrete effort on it. We seek to cooperate with other countries to advance similar efforts in the whole international societies.
It is important that the seamless support should be implemented beyond 2012 toward developing countries, especially vulnerable ones. As for fast-start financing, Japan has pledged $15 billion in the Copenhagen Accord, including public and private finance to support developing countries. The country has already implemented 592 projects in 95 countries, to the value of over $12.5 billion. We will continue to provide supports steadily in the future.
Japan continues to contribute actively to international cooperation to cope with climate change through cooperative relationship with all countries including developing ones.
I thank you, Madame President.