(Nikkei: November 21, 2015 – p. 9)
The 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) will be held in Paris from Nov. 30 through Dec. 11 to discuss measures to combat global warming. Amid the tight security in Paris since the terrorist attacks, COP21 will be a historic meeting where the parties aim to agree on a new framework in which all countries will participate. Some are optimistic, saying that the United States and China – the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases – have come to take a proactive stance toward the negotiations, but there remains a deep-rooted division of opinion between developed and developing countries. The parties face the challenge of envisioning a framework to replace the Kyoto Protocol.
Japan is opposed in principle to making reduction targets mandatory. It will be hard pressed to reach its reduction targets as the nation cannot anticipate that its nuclear power plants will be restarted. Japan is requesting instead that participating countries be required to submit reports on the progress they have made on measures to achieve their targets.
COP21 will have to decide what kind of long-term global targets to put in place. Other key questions for discussion include whether to institute a system for reviewing each country’s global emissions targets or an overall global emission target every five years. (Abridged)