Statement by Ambassador Yukio Takasu
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Thematic Debate of the General Assembly
"Addressing Climate Change: The United Nations and the World at Work"
February 13, 2008
All the nations of the world recognize that climate change is the most serious and urgent challenge in human history. In reaching agreement in Bali on the post-2012 framework negotiation process we have arrived at a common understanding about how to address this vital problem. Japan will make every possible effort to ensure that the Bali Roadmap produces the most effective framework by the time of COP15 in Copenhagen.
Cool Earth Promotion Programme
At the recent World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos, Prime Minister Fukuda presented his proposal called a "Cool Earth Promotion Programme." He expressed his firm determination that Japan will, along with other major emitters, set a quantified national target for greenhouse gas emissions reductions. In order to realize a drastic reduction in such gases worldwide, it is imperative that there be equity in the shouldering of this obligation.
Prime Minister Fukuda also announced that Japan will take action in the area of international environmental cooperation by engaging in technology transfer and establishing financial mechanism.
Japan succeeded in its pursuit of economic growth and environmental protection by striving to conserve energy. It is willing to share this experience by transferring high-quality environmental technology to other countries. For example, if the level of efficiency in Japan's power plant is achieved in the United States, India, and China, the resulting CO2 emission reductions would amount to 1.3 billion tons - the equivalent of Japan's annual total emissions. In this context, Japan proposes to set a global target of 30% improvement of energy efficiency by 2020.
Japan launches the Cool Earth Partnership, to provide assistance amounting US$10 billion in 5 years to developing countries making efforts to reduce emissions and struggling against the severe adverse impact of climate change. Assistance will be provided in the area of mitigation, adaptation, and access to clean energy. Special attention will be paid to SIDS and LLDCs, which are exposed to dangers such as submersion of land and desertification as a result of emissions from other countries. Japan also aims to create a new multilateral fund together with the United States and the United Kingdom, and we invite other donors to participate.
The importance of innovation, such as the development of new technologies and the creation of low-carbon societies, must also be stressed. Technological breakthroughs are critical if greenhouse gas emissions are to be cut in half by 2050. Japan is accelerating the development of technology, such as zero CO2 emission coal-fired power plants, low-cost, high-efficiency solar power generation technology and Green IT. Japan will be emphasizing investment in research and development in the fields of the environment and energy, and over the next five years, will be investing approximately US$30 billion in this effort. We propose to formulate an international framework, through which we can collabolate closely with international agencies, such as IEA to accelerate technology development and share the fruits of such efforts.
Partnership with the Private Sector
In order to address climate change, it is essential to raise awareness of eco-lifestyles and mobilize all available resources--not only from public but also from the private sector. In this context, the UN Global Compact can be most useful.
The private sector has the most important role to play in the development, deployment and transfer of technology. In the effort to achieve a low-carbon society, private investment must also be promoted. To attract such investment and encourage the private sector to be active, it is necessary to improve the investment environment, for example, with respect to the protection of intellectual property rights and the development of human resources.
UN Central Role
Japan expects the United Nations system to play an active part in the orchestration of such global efforts, and it appreciates the leadership the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly have provided in generating the political momentum necessary to advance the international negotiation process.
The fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC has made a substantial contribution to the progress of those negotiations by putting an end to the dispute concerning what causes climate change and clarifying in a scientific manner the serious impact climate change is having. The UNFCCC should play the pivotal role in the negotiation, with support from other UN agencies, as reported by the Secretary-General. It is important to promote coherence and coordination among UN agencies in order to address the issue in an effective and efficient manner without any duplication of effort.
As the 2009 deadline for the negotiations approaches, international debate is likely to intensify. Japan, as President of the G8 this year, will strive to make positive contributions to the negotiation process.
Promotion of Eco-Lifestyles
At the same time as we look to the future, we must recognize that there are things we can do right now, and get to work on them. Most importantly, we should promote eco-lifestyles - Mottainai (not wasteful) lifestyle. For example, recycling should be encouraged, and our homes and offices could be maintained in an energy-efficient manner.
Japan calls on all actors to bring to bear on this problem the wisdom of humankind, so that we may create a low-carbon society and win the battle against climate change.
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