Japan on Tuesday ratified the Paris Agreement on fighting global warming, joining the landmark accord creating a new international framework for reining in carbon emissions that involves nearly all developed and developing nations.
The Japanese government submitted a ratification instrument to the United Nations in New York to become a signatory to the accord after 30 days.
Earlier in the day, the House of Representatives and the Cabinet approved the accord, completing Tokyo’s necessary domestic procedures for the ratification.
“We will play a leading role in the global community’s efforts to deal with climate change and fulfill our responsibility to safely pass down this precious Earth to our children and their children,” said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The Japanese government had intended to obtain Diet approval last Friday, the day the pact entered into force, but was forced to postpone the move due to political wrangling over a gaffe by a Cabinet minister.
While major emitters like China, the United States and India as well as the European Union ratified the agreement weeks ago, Japan was slow to take the step, with its Cabinet proposing ratification to the Diet in October only after it became evident the accord would take effect.
Discussions on how to implement the Paris Agreement have already begun as an annual U.N. climate treaty conference got underway in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh on Monday.
Although the first gathering of signatories to the Paris accord will take place on Nov. 15 during the conference, Japan can only attend as an observer as it will not be a signatory until later.
The accord, adopted at the climate change conference in Paris last December, aims to hold global average temperature rises to “well below” 2 degrees above preindustrial levels to avoid the serious consequences scientists say will be caused by climate change, such as more droughts, floods, melting glaciers and rising seas.
Under the deal, countries will set their own emissions reduction targets and provide progressively more ambitious targets every five years, but they will not be penalized for missing these goals.
Japan plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent from 2013 levels by 2030 by switching to more efficient power generation and promoting use of energy-saving light bulbs among other measures. It also aims for an 80 percent cut in emissions by 2050.
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