• Kyodo

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The Cabinet on Tuesday approved submitting the Paris Agreement on climate change to the Diet for ratification. The pact aims to curb climate change beyond 2020, but Japan has lagged behind other major emitters in pushing for legislative approval.

The government plans to send the bill to the Diet before Nov. 7, when the next U.N. climate conference, or COP 22, begins in Morocco.

Concerns remain about Japan’s ratification as Diet battles between the ruling and opposition parties over the proposed approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership may push back the intended schedule.

Japan needs to ratify the Paris Agreement before Oct. 19 to participate in the first meeting to shape the details. It could be difficult to complete the ratification process by then, raising concerns that Japan may lose its voice.

“We will make efforts to obtain Diet approval as soon as possible,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

Environment Minister Koichi Yamamoto also said, “I want to ask for Diet deliberations so the pact can be approved quickly.”

The accord is set to enter into force Nov. 4, as the condition has been met that at least 55 nations accounting for 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions have ratified it.

The accord has already been ratified by countries including the United States, China, Canada and Brazil, as well as the European Union.

Among major greenhouse gas emitters, Japan, Russia, South Korea and Australia have not ratified the pact, which makes efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions legally binding. It was hammered out in France last December.

The ruling and opposition parties are expected to begin deliberations on the bill in the Upper House first, where it will be easier for them to secure time.

Ratification by China and the United States, the world’s two largest emitters, came last month, followed by India and the European Union this month, clearing the ratification condition in less than 10 months after the accord was reached.

The agreement aims to hold the global temperature rise to “well below” 2 degrees above preindustrial levels to avert more serious impacts from climate change.

All countries must set their own emissions reduction targets and take domestic measures to meet them. They are also expected to provide progressively more ambitious targets every five years, while there is no penalty for falling short.

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