Climate Change

December 16, 2019

From December 2nd to 15th, in Madrid, Spain, the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25), the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP15), and the 2nd session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA2), as well as the 51st session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI51) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA51), were held respectively, as summarized in the following outline. The Government of Japan was represented by H.E. Mr. KOIZUMI Shinjiro, Minister of the Environment, accompanied by officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, who participated in the conferences.

The Government of Japan contributed to the negotiations for Article 6 of the Paris Agreement (market mechanisms) and other agenda, with Minister Koizumi leading the discussions through intensive participations in bilateral and ministerial consultations, in addition to technical negotiations attended by Heads of Delegation and expert-level officials.

Furthermore, during the conferences, Japan proactively delivered its achievements and efforts, including the record of five-year-consecutive reductions in GHG emissions as well as active commitments by non-state actors.

1. Summary of the negotiations

(1) Article 6 of the Paris Agreement (market mechanisms)

The negotiations for implementation guidelines for market mechanisms, whose agreement had not been reached at COP24, became one of the highlights at COP25. The Government of Japan called for the avoidance of double-counting of emission reductions and securing environmental integrity. Minister Koizumi held intensive bilateral consultations with other Ministers and took the lead in the ministerial negotiations with constructive proposals, added by technical negotiations attended by Heads of Delegations and expert-level officials. On the other hand, under this agenda item, due to political aspects with complicated interest of each country, it was not possible to reach agreement on all discussion items. On the basis of the progress attained through discussions at COP25, the Government of Japan on its part will continue to contribute towards the adoption of the implementation guidelines for market mechanisms at COP26.

(2) Loss and Damage (loss and damage associated with the adverse effect of climate change)

The review was held for the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts, which was established at COP19 under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Convention). As some countries claimed to request the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to provide support for loss and damage, it was decided that within the existing frameworks considerations will continue. It was also agreed to establish the expert group to support activities for loss and damage and the Santiago Network to catalyze technical assistance regarding loss and damage.

(3) Other discussions

Discussions were held on a broad range of negotiation agendas including the periodic review of the long-term global goal under the Convention, climate finance, reporting formats under the transparency frameworks (reporting systems for Parties to the Paris Agreement), gender and climate change, Impacts of implementation of response measures (social and economic impacts arising from the implementation of mitigation policies and actions), adaptation, development and transfer of technologies, capacity building, agriculture, research and systematic observation. The outcome of the discussions includes the decision on the scope of the next periodic review of the long-term global goal under the Convention, enhanced Lima work programme on gender and its gender action plan, and the 6-year workplan of the forum on the impact of the implementation of response measures.

(4) Decisions by COP, CMP and CMA (Chile Madrid Time for Action)

In addition to the above-mentioned agenda items, discussions were held on elements to be included in decisions by COP, CMP and CMA respectively. As a result of the negotiations, the decisions included texts to enhance ambitious climate change measures by all Parties, and to convene a dialogue on ocean and climate change in June, 2020. The next COP26 will also be held in November, 2020 in the United Kingdom.

(5) Minister Koizumi's bilateral meetings with other Minister-level delegates

Minister Koizumi held a total of 36 bilateral meetings with Ministers/Representatives of 13 countries/regions and with heads of four organizations, including Chile (COP25 Presidency), Costa Rica, Brazil, European Union, France, Germany, South Africa, Singapore, New Zealand, and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres as well as UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa. Throughout the meetings, Minister Koizumi took the lead in negotiations for implementation guidelines for market mechanism and exchanged views on various points including vision and actions regarding climate change.

2. Promotion of Action by Japan

(1) High-level segments

(a) Statement by Minister Koizumi at the Ministerial Meeting

Minister Koizumi first and foremost made clear Japan’s firm position on negotiations for market mechanisms under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, instruments for accelerating global emissions reductions, that the implementation guidelines shall be adopted to avoid double counting and secure environmental integrity.

Furthermore, Minister Koizumi promoted Japan’s efforts and ideas for climate change most effectively as the following:

  • as one of the youngest Ministers in the world as well as the oldest of the millennial generation, listening to youth voices and securing the future;
  • while yet to a new development on our coal-related policy by COP25, taking appropriate note of criticisms and continuing to take concrete actions toward decarbonization and delivering the results;
  • trying to change the current perception where Japan’s actions are being overshadowed by criticism to its coal policy and are not well received; Japan is fully committed to decarbonization and Japan will realize it;
  • since taking office as Minister of the Environment in September this year, increased the number of local governments with the net-zero declaration by 2050 from 4 to 28, equivalent to the population of 45 million – such ambitious actions by local governments expected to create a great force in accelerating the nation-wide net zero achievement by Japan;
  • emphasizing that the number of companies and institutions supporting TCFD recommendations in Japan is the largest in the world, which is attracting more investment with proper disclosure of climate related information;
  • supporting the Green Climate Fund as a leading donor.

(b) Ministerial Dialogue on Adaptation

The Government of Chile convened the “Ministerial Dialogue on Adaptation Ambition” to discuss raising ambitions and share examples of efforts by respective countries. H.E. Ms. Carolina Schmidt, Minister of the Environment, Chile, and H.E. Teresa Ribera, Minister for the Ecological Transition, Spain chaired the dialogue. Prime Ministers/Ministers of four countries including Minister Koizumi, delivered remarks and held panel discussions.

Minister Koizumi explained the Climate Change Adaptation Act, which come into force in December last year in Japan, the establishment of “Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Information Platform” (AP-PLAT) to support the Asia Pacific region in science-based adaptation actions.

(c) Global Climate Action (GCA) Plenary Event

A GCA event was convened to share actions and achievement against climate change undertaken by Contracting Parties and non-state actors. From Japan, Mr. MORISHITA Satoru, Vice-Minister for Global Environmental Affairs, Ministry of the Environment, explained actions taken by local governments and private companies in Japan and highlighted that Japan timely included decarbonization in its long-term strategy under the Paris Agreement.

(2) Official side events and others

(a) GCF

Minister Koizumi announced Japan’s contributions as the leading donor. Furthermore, Minister Koizumi explained Japan’s efforts toward the increase in ESG finance and the expansion of green bond markets in Japan. Lastly, Minister Koizumi asked GCF to put forward initiatives such as “GCF for Youth” in order to backup actions by the youth.

(b) Carbon Neutrality Coalition Ministerial Event at COP25

Under the chair of Ms. Laurence Tubiana, former Ambassador in charge of the negotiations on climate change of France, the meeting was also attended by H.E. Mr. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji, H.E. Mr. James Shaw, Minister for Climate Change of New Zealand, H.E. Mr. Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica and H.E. Mr. Myung Rae Cho, Minister of Environment of the Republic of Korea. Minister Koizumi stated that Japan is the first G7 member to declare carbon neutrality in the long-term strategy under the Paris Agreement, non-state actors such as local governments and private sectors are accelerating actions and the Circular Economy Business Forum to be held in Tokyo plans to have a session for the Carbon Neutrality Coalition. In response, the Republic of Korea, which on this occasion announced its intent of participation in the Coalition, expressed its appreciation for the support extended by Minister Koizumi for its participation in the Coalition.

(c) Workshop at the United Nations SDG Pavilion

The workshop was held to discuss collaboration of efforts toward climate change measures and the achievement of SDGs. Minister Koizumi announced that: Japan will, in collaboration with the World Economy Forum (WEF), convene the Circular Economy Business Forum around in May next year; coordinated actions based on the “Osaka Blue Ocean Vision” agreed at G20 Summit this year are necessary; Japan will host an international conference on climate change and disaster prevention in collaboration with the UN organizations; and Japan offered to host the third Climate and SDGs Synergy Conference in 2021.

(3) Side events at the Japan Pavilion

The Japan Pavilion at COP25 venue featured various exhibitions and seminars. Under the theme of “ACTION. ACTION. ACTION.” Japan showcased its strength centering on hydrogen technologies, space/ocean observation, measures against fluorocarbons, and wind power generation technologies, and covering both aspects of mitigation and adaptation, exhibited models/dioramas/panels with their images. Furthermore, as the side-events, Japan delivered its various efforts to contribute to the global decarbonization with concrete actions. The following is the summary of major events:

(a) Initiative on Fluorocarbons Life Cycle Management

Minister Koizumi declared to launch the Initiative on Fluorocarbons Life Cycle Management, on the occasion of the establishment ceremony for the initiative convened by the Government of Japan. France, Chile, Maldives, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) voiced support for the initiative. (As of now, 11 countries and international organizations as well as 10 companies and bodies in Japan have expressed support.)

(b) Osaka Blue Ocean Vision

The roundtable for the Osaka Blue Ocean Vision was held. Minister Koizumi shared the Osaka Blue Ocean Vision with Ministers and senior officials of countries including 8 countries other than members of G20. Participating countries expressed their determination for measures against marine plastic liter.

(c) Climate Change and Disaster Prevention

Japan hosted an event for climate change and disaster prevention, at which Minister Koizumi appealed Japan’s efforts based on the Climate Change Adaptation Act, support for the promotion of highly effective adaptation actives through the Asia-Pacific Climate Change Information Platform (AP-PLAT) launched in June this year, the plan to host the Asia-Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN) Forum in September next year.

(d) Innovation Challenge for Net Zero Carbon

KEIDANREN (Japan Business Federation) held an event for roles of innovation towards net zero carbon. Minister Koizumi attended to welcome the “Challenge Zero” by KEIDANREN and introduced actions by Japanese corporations and actions by local governments as “Zero Carbon Companies” and “Zero Carbon Cities” respectively, Furthermore, Minister Koizumi commemorated the recent Nobel Prize awarded to Dr. Yoshino Akira for his contribution to lithium-ion batteries and highlighted Japan’s utmost contribution through innovation and international cooperation towards global-scale carbon neutrality.

(4) Other Events

On the occasion of the Earth Information Day, Japan presented the latest findings of its climate change projection research programmes and highlighted the importance of systematic observation related to the climate system.

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