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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 November 15 - 21  > COP23 urges Japan to move toward a coal-free future
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2017 November 15 - 21 [SOCIAL ISSUES]
editorial 

COP23 urges Japan to move toward a coal-free future

November 19, 2017
Akahata editorial (excerpt)

The 23rd Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP23) on November 18 ended in Bonn, Germany with a determination to create rules on implementing the Paris climate agreement, a framework on international efforts to tackle global warming after 2020. The conference also resolved to create a system to encourage member countries of the Paris agreement to implement more ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets.

The Paris agreement, which took effect in 2016, aims to limit the rise of the average global temperature to within at least two degrees Celsius and 1.5 degrees from that in the pre-industrial years or around the 1850s. The COP23 meeting was the first one held after U.S. President Donald Trump in June announced withdrawing the United States from the climate agreement. In the meeting, the Paris signatories reconfirmed their commitment to move forward with the historic agreement. This is important.

The Trump administration’s withdrawal decision not only provoked criticism from many countries and NGOs tackling climate change but also received objections from state governments and businesses in the U.S. In the COP23, participants showed a critical stance toward the U.S. decision. It is becoming clearer that Trump’s position is isolated from both the international society and within his own country.

During the UN climate conference, Canada and the U.K. took a lead in establishing the Powering Past Coal Alliance in order to phase out coal and promote clean energy sources. It was joined by 25 countries and states including France, Italy, and Northern European countries as well as the U.S. State of Washington.

The Japanese government is going counter to the international trend for a total departure from coal. Japan was again awarded the Fossil Award from an international network of environment NGOs for being reluctant to combat global warming. Along with the U.S., which is the winner of the Colossal Fossil Award, Japan received international criticism as the leaders of the two countries at this month’s summit meeting agreed on a memorandum to promote technologies of coal-fired and nuclear power generation in developing countries.

Having signed on to agreements at COP23, parties need to make serious efforts to considerably cut their carbon emissions. In particular, the Abe government should drastically increase Japan’s GHG reduction target, which is far lower than those of other countries. It is essential for the Abe government to abandon or review the current basic energy plan which designates coal and nuclear as important base-load energy sources. Japan must revise its energy policy so that it will not lag behind the world which is moving toward a coal-free future.

Past related articles:
> Japan should have no room left for coal under Paris climate agreement [November 8, 2017]
> We must cut GHG emissions now to turn from uncertain future to better future [June 4, 2017]

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