NEWS

Emissions can be halved by 2050

Is the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2050 a realistic target, and will it be enough to halt climate change? The data we rely on is provided by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which says that we need to reach an emissions peak within the next 10 to 20 years and then reduce them by half by 2050. Then we can avoid a catastrophe. This is a fair target. Even reducing 50 percent by 2050 is a big target. Does Japan feel that some countries are not cooperating on climate change and, if so, what can be done to get them on board? I would not like to mention a specific country but it’s an obvious fact that the major emitters since 1950 have been China, the USA, the EU, Russia, Japan and India. China is going to be the largest emitter very soon. The USA, China and India account for almost 45 percent of emissions and this ratio is going to increase. The EU and Russia are big emitters as well but, like Japan, they are members of the Kyoto Protocol. Another issue is that the combined emissions of the developing countries will soon exceed those of the developed countries. So, it’s simple logic that without the participation of all, we cannot address the issue. While there are clear benefits for developing countries in becoming more energy efficient, isn’t it hypocritical of the developed world to now be demanding emissions cuts from countries whose economies are still growing significantly? This is a global issue and the developing countries are those most affected by climate change. The advanced countries have discharged a greater amount of emissions but we have the technology and experience that can be transferred, so developing countries can take advantage of this. In that sense, developing countries these days are in a better position to make use of that. One of the important issues is getting assistance to developing countries by every possible means, for instance, to make their industries more energy efficient.