KOGA Speaks! RENGO's Statement by General Secretary

KOGA Speaks!
On Japanese government’s “‘Mid-Term Target’ of Greenhouse Gas Emissions”

11 June 2009
Nobuaki Koga, General Secretary
Japanese Trade Union Confederation (JTUC-RENGO)
  1. Prime Minister Taro Aso announced on Wednesday June 10, 2009°°the Japan’s policy on “the mid-term target” of the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions “to reduce by 15 percent from 2005 levels” ( 8 percent reduction compared to 1990 levels). This is the first decision made by the Japanese government on the target of the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for 2020 in the international framework after 2013, the so-called post- Kyoto Protocol.

    In the policy, are also shown new growth strategies and the burden which the public have to bear accompanying achieving the target for 2020, including 1) the usage of photovoltaic power generation to be increased by 20 times, 2) the introduction rate of renewable energies to be increased by 20 percent and 3) 50 percent of new car sales to be achieved by next generation cars.

    Moreover, with regard to the long-term target (reduction by 60 percent to 80percent by 2050 from the present levels) which was raised in the “Action Programs for Low- Carbon Society” (decided by the Cabinet on July 29,2008), a prospect is shown that, through achieving the mid-term target, “a reduction by about 25 percent for 2030 and about 70 percent for 2050 will be enabled.”

  2. RENGO, in formulating the mid-term target, put together various views in recognition of the importance of the measures against global warming as well as from the point of placing importance on the working people and the lives of the people and announced that 1) in consideration of the reflection on the Kyoto Protocol, open nation-wide discussions are needed; 2) the measures against global warming should be promoted together with employment policy through incorporating “green job strategies” in the measures against global warming; 3) the mid-term target should contribute to a substantial reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; 4) the measures against global warming should place importance upon the compatibility of “the environment” and “the economy” and 5) the mid-term target should contribute to forming a new international framework.

  3. The target of the reduction announced this time, however, diverges from the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the “Bari Agreement” concluded in its Conference of the Parties (COP3 2007). It also deviate from the opinions of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). For this reason, it is needed from now on to coordinate the ranges of the reduction among the developed countries taking into consideration of not only 15 percent reduction through domestic measures but also international cooperation and the measures for the carbon sink of the forest.

    Whereas, the reference in the government policy to the promotion of the green economy though substantially expanding photovoltaic power generation, the importance of the transfer to a low-carbon society, the way of thinking that the measures for environment will generate a new market and employment can be appreciated. The government is called upon to build up arrangements to promote the positive technology development and the investment and support for encouraging it. At the same time, the government should fully fulfill its accountability to the people on the burden to be borne by the public accompanying the measures against global warming and achieving the target.

  4. With this mid-term target, Japan is taking part in the meeting of COP15 in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December this year. In the meeting, international negotiations will be conducted in order to decide an international mid-term target and a long- term target for realizing a low-carbon society through “halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050”.

    In a “post-Kyoto Protocol”, a new framework is called for, in which all the main emitting countries including USA, China and India will take part. For this purpose, Japan has to play a positive role so as to lead to the individual efforts of the developed countries for reduction, technology transfer and financial assistance to  and capacity improvement of the developing countries.

    RENGO will continue work for realizing a low-carbon society from a mid-term and long- term point of view.