“Climate Action Now” is a nation-wide campaign that started in Japan in June 2015 as a means to tackle the problems of climate change. In December 2015, COP21 will be held in Paris, France to set an international agreement for each country to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Whether or not an international agreement can be made to significantly reduce emissions in Paris depends on the voices of global citizens to resolve the problems of climate change.
This campaign, which was initiated by organizations concerned about the growing problem of climate change, has the following 3 goals:
- Inform a wide audience on the current dangers of climate change as well as the future problems we will face
- With the support of environmental groups and key players, spread the message of “Climate Action Now!” from concerned citizens
- Strengthen Japan’s measures to combat climate change at COP21 in December 2015
Facing the dangers of climate change – From the IPCC’s 5th Assessment
In 2014, the IPCC released their Fifth Assessment Report. They reported that rises in global temperatures, the retreat of glaciers and ocean acidification are already occurring and that these issues are affecting both the world’s continents and oceans. If our current global emissions continue at the same rate as they are now, global temperatures may rise by up to 4.8℃ and, as a result, put ecosystems and our socioeconomic system at risk. The effects of climate change may even exceed scientists’ predictions, reaching the point of no return. In order for countries to meet their goal of keeping global rises in temperature below 2℃ and avoid the dangerous effects of climate change, we need to reduce CO2 emissions by 40-70% (compared with 2010 levels) and be carbon free (or less) by 2100. However, with the INDCs proposed thus far, these goals will be nearly impossible to meet. As it stands, our way of life and very existence on this planet could be in serious danger if we don’t take drastic action.
Preparing for COP21
What steps will Europe, the US and China make?
At the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris in 2015, member countries will aim to adopt an international agreement that will include making large cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Global climate change has not only become a political issue but also a policy issue. In fall of 2014, many nations with high emissions such as China have released their INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) in rapid succession. The EU and the US formally submitted their INDCs by the March 2015 deadline. Along with reducing emissions, there has been a growing trend to expand renewable energy. Many countries have made larger efforts in promoting renewable energy.
Currently, with the INDCs that have been submitted, although its necessary to keep global average temperatures below 2℃, they are just the first step as much more commitment is needed.
Japan’s climate change measures
In response to the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in 2011, Japan was forced to seriously review their dependence on nuclear power as well as their climate change measures. However, Japan has not come up with new climate change or energy policies. At COP19 in 2013, Japan announced that their greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal of 25% (compared to 1990 levels) which be downloaded to a 3.8% reduction (compared to 2005), which actually equates to a 5.8% increase compared with 1990 emissions levels. This led to criticism from several countries for the target’s ambiguity. As the 5th largest emitter of greenhouse gases, Japan is not living up to its responsibilities.
At a council meeting on April 30th 2015, Japan released their reduction goal of 26% for 2030 compared to 2013 levels. As this would equal an 18% reduction compared with 1990 levels, the target was put into question. What is needed now in Japan？ More people need to not just understand the risks of climate change but to recognize climate change policies as a serious matter. In addition, with the cooperation of various organizations that deal with climate change issues, concerned citizens want to share their message in their efforts to fight climate change – Japan must realize an ambitions emissions reduction target and put forth more effective climate change policies.
- Towards the Paris Talks
- To keep climate change below 2℃, let’s aim for a meaningful agreement!
- Towards effective Japanese policies
- Let’s made large cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and shift towards clean, renewable energy!