Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Monday called for the world to take “bold action” in the fight against climate change, touting Japan’s plans to reduce carbon emissions and waste while making significant investments in green technologies.
“We have a responsibility to pass on a beautiful Earth to the next generation,” Suga said at an international conference on environmental issues in Tokyo.
Climate change and other environmental issues are becoming a “growing threat” internationally, he said, adding “it is crucial that all countries take bold action.”
Achieving carbon neutrality, or net zero emissions of carbon dioxide, by 2050 — a goal Suga announced in October shortly after taking office — is a key target for Japan and will also help spur economic growth, the prime minister said.
Also at the conference hosted by the Global Environmental Action, Emperor Naruhito said it is important for “each of us to take action to bring about the future we want.”
The Environment Ministry is looking to include the net zero target in a bill to be submitted to the Diet next year, underscoring the urgency the current administration places on the issue.
The bill, a revision to a law aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, is also expected to include a reference to efforts under the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit increases in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and preferably 1.5 C, above preindustrial levels.
Suga reiterated at the conference that Japan will help firms develop green technologies such as carbon capture and recycling, hydrogen fuel and next-generation batteries through a new ¥2 trillion fund, and will also commit to reducing ocean plastic waste.
During a separate international meeting on climate change held Sunday, Suga said Japan will review progress toward its 2030 target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions with an eye on achieving its more ambitious goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
At the online meeting of the Climate Ambition Summit, co-chaired by the United Nations, the U.K. and France, Suga said Japan will this year provide roughly $11.8 billion (¥1.2 trillion) in public and private funding to support global decarbonization and contribute up to $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund for helping developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The U.K. will host the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) on climate change in November 2021.
“Regarding Japan’s efforts toward 2030, we will proceed with discussions based on our new target, and we aim to submit the results to the United Nations by COP26,” said Suga in a prerecorded video message.
“Japan is determined to lead the efforts to realize the decarbonized world that the Paris Agreement aims for in cooperation with other countries,” he said.
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