Additional complexities for Japanese mid-term target
|Monday, 18. May 2009 0 comment(s)||
International Politics of Natural Resources and the Environment research programme
Investing time into lengthy deliberations in order to construct a broad consensus is an inescapable step in Japanese decision-making. Yet it is also true that in the case of a deadlock concerned parties, rather than engaging in open confrontation, settle their differences in backstage negotiations. This is why the current public meetings on the country’s mid-term commitments for greenhouse gas emissions reductions are such an unusual phenomenon in Japanese domestic politics.
The Cabinet had announced that it would release its final position on Japan’s mid-term emission reduction targets for the Copenhagen climate negotiations based on the outcome of the five meetings organized throughout Japan, during which public support for each of the six options lying before the Prime Minister was supposed to be evaluated. Audiences however, consisting largely of climate NGOs and representatives of business interests instead of average citizens, predictably clashed over seemingly irreconcilable differences.
The Japanese government finds itself in the unenviable position of having to lend its weight to a compromise unlikely to gain any backing from any of the stakeholders. Amid the fog of war, some support seems to be crystallizing around the figure of 7% reductions relative to 1990, which is what a study by the Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry deems achievable in a scenario featuring maximum induction of best-available technologies. Japanese NGOs, though disappointed, believe the target to be realistic, should the government finally support more credible domestic policies and measures: a capped emissions trading system, absolute instead of intensity-based reduction targets for industries, housing insulation, etc.
-7%, it should be noted, represents what the government
believes to be
Even though it may come as a disappointment to those
hoping for a more substantial Japanese commitment, one should consider oneself
lucky if even this figure holds. Given startlingly low approval rates, it
remains to be seen if Prime Minister Aso has enough political clout left to
force this target down the collective throats of
Texts reflect the opinions of the individual authors