Below is a commentary by International Environment and Economy Institute Director Takeuchi Junko
The Japanese government released its greenhouse gas reduction goals by sector in the draft revision of the Plan for Global Warming Countermeasures. The sector goals will contribute to achieving the FY2030 goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 46% of FY2013 figures. The plan to meet the goal Japan announced to the international community is, by its very nature, ambitious.
The realization of the FY2030 goal will be very difficult. The draft revision does not include specific measures. The reduction goal for households is 66% of FY2013 figures, but no justification is given for setting a much higher goal compared with the previous plan. Little progress has been made in reducing household emissions, although it had been a major issue over the past decade. This is because the reduction of household emissions depends on changes in people’s awareness and behavior, unlike industry, which is regulated by government agencies or by the voluntary action plans of industry organizations.
The new plan aims to achieve its goal for the household sector by shifting power supply to renewable energy sources and by promoting energy savings through energy efficient equipment and housing. However, have past measures been sufficiently assessed? It is necessary to assess past measures for their achievements in carbon reduction and cost efficiency. One such measure is the eco point system which encourages the switch to energy efficient appliances. No drastic changes [in energy savings] will happen without measures encouraging households to invest in housing and equipment. It will mean that people will just have to work even harder to be energy efficient.
The goal of a 46% reduction by FY2030 was positioned as a target en route to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. In order to realize the very ambitious targets outlined in the revised plan, it will be necessary to periodically review and revise targets, looking at behavioral change, cost, and introduction of new technology.