U.N. climate chief urges Japan to slash emissions, and to shell out $1 billion


Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, has urged Japan to set an ambitious goal of emission cuts from 2020 and contribute over $1 billion to a new fund for combating global warming.

“My expectation of Japanese contributions is the same as my expectation from every other country,” Figueres said in an interview on Saturday.

Parties to the convention are required to announce their reduction targets by the end of March. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government on Friday began discussions on the matter.

Figueres also urged Japan to play an active role in the Green Climate Fund, which will be one of the major topics at the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. framework convention (COP20), to be held in December in Peru. The fund is designed to facilitate the fight against global warming in developing countries.

“Financial contribution from Japan is absolutely critical,” Figueres said, adding the world is “anxiously and eagerly waiting for the pledge from Japan.”

Referring to $1 billion pledged to the fund by each of France and Germany, Figueres said, “We will certainly expect Japan to be higher than that.

“The quicker the world moves toward a low-carbon economy, the quicker we move toward a high efficient economy,” which will lead to more demand for Japanese exports, she said.

In 2013, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe committed to spending about $16 billion over the following three years to help developing countries find ways to mitigate the impact of climate change. But he stopped short of mentioning the amount of funds Tokyo will be putting up for the Green Climate Fund, set up to support developing countries.

Japan is struggling to rein in its own emissions of greenhouse gases after all nuclear plants were shut down following the Fukushima nuclear crisis stemming from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and prompted a shutdown of all the nation’s 48 commercial reactors.

The increased use of fossil fuels to compensate for the lost electricity supply has undone much of the progress the country had made in cutting carbon emissions.

But there is still uncertainty about the timing of nuclear reactor restarts.

At COP19 held in Warsaw last November, Japan set a goal of reducing emissions by 3.8 percent by fiscal 2020 from the fiscal 2005 base year, drawing criticism from various countries for backpedaling on its previous pledge to cut 25 percent from a fiscal 1990 base year.

  • Taro-nechan

    Nuclear power plants have to be restarted.

    • rossdorn

      Not necessarily, but of couse, they will.

      No, this is about rules that normal people worldwide live by.
      There is the habit of habit of a few hundred cars, parking in garages belonging to departmenstores, with their engines running for two or three hours, at whatever time of day you get there.
      In summer to keep the a/c working, in winter the heating….

      Or the running of a/c full blast in several thousand shops like HAC, Japan-wide in the heat of summer, with all their doors open for the customers.

      • Taro-nechan

        I beg to disagree.

        Japanese cars are already some of the most eco-friendly in the whole whole. Japanese industry is some of the cleanest in terms of their fuel use and pollution output. Japanese urban transportation systems are already the most advanced in the whole world, and only the people who don’t live in big urban areas still use cars on a regular basis. At most, maybe Japanese can insulate their houses better so that it uses less energy to cool/heat.

        The biggest piece of the equation, really, is the previous almost 35% mix of nuclear energy in electricity generation. Now that all nuclear power plants are shuttered, you have the equivalent of 35% of Japan’s electricity generation spewing out fumes that it didn’t use to under nuclear. This is the most immediately solvable issue that has the highest impact on the UN’s emissions target.

      • rossdorn

        You did not answer, probably not even read what I wrote…

        All you do, is sell nuclear power plants.
        Well, you are in the right place. The japanese people are not only more ignorant about almost everything that goes on in the world, they also will eat whatever their governement shoves down their throats.

      • Taro-nechan

        And you have no understanding of the proportionality of the issues as well as possible countermeasures.

  • jr_hkkdo

    The UN has its nerve asking Japan to reduce its emissions even more and donating more money. Japan is already in deepest debt (as a % of GDP) of any developed nation, and has done as much or more than probably any country in the world to reduce emissions nationally. Japan is very, very sensitive to encourage conservation and pollution control of all kinds already.

    I think the UN is taking advantage of Japan’s strong historical support for all matters of conservation and pollution control to “squeeze” more money out of Japan taxpayers. I think it is rude and wrong for the UN to take this approach with Japan. Japan should tell the UN to insist that other countries do their fair share. Japan has done its fair share already and continues to do so.

    Besides, many, many scientists still believe that “global climate change/warming” is NOT settled science…there is still a BIG question about whether it is happening, and whether it is mostly man-made.

    The UN official in this article said: ““The quicker the world moves toward a low-carbon economy, the quicker we move toward a high efficient economy,” The reality is that the world will never become a low-carbon economy. The world is created with carbon atoms and minerals for a reason…to be used for the betterment of society. The energy availability from other forms (except carbon) is too low to replace carbon completely, or even mostly. That is the physical, scientific reality. The UN’s comment above is an effort to bleed rich, developed countries of their wealth and redistribute it to the poorer nations, in the communist tradition. If such policies are pursued by the UN and other “world government” promoters, then countries like Japan, the US, the UK, et al, will become poorer due to contracted economies and higher taxes. It’s called “killing the geese that lay the golden eggs”.

  • Lawrence Klepinger

    “Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, has urged Japan to set an ambitious goal of emission cuts from 2020 and contribute over $1 billion to a new fund for combating global warming.”

    Typical garbage from the Useless Nincompoops (UN). It is well known that ALL countries send their most illiterate and useless government hangers-on to populate the United Nations. The hope is that they will stay there until they retire and then go spend their ill-gotten pensions – and finally be rid of them.

    Christiana Figueres is totally out of her depth. But, if she really wants to tell somebody to clean up their emissions problem – how about pulling this kind of crap on the Chinese – and see how far she gets.

    Best thing to do when the United Nations has anything to say is to ignore whomever is speaking.

    Lawrence Klepinger

    • rossdorn

      Great comment…..

      I cannot remember having ever read a comment so full of arguments.

      Jesus, what people here….