April 24, 2009

JAMA Comments on Japan’s Mid-Term Target Options for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Further Deliberations Necessary to Ensure Fairness and Feasibility

In preparation for the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Copenhagen in December this year, the Japanese government formed a committee last November to consider medium-term targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in Japan. The Mid-Term Target Committee has, as a result of its deliberations, formulated six options for the GHG reduction goal and solicited public comment on this issue, which it continues to examine prior to reaching a final decision in the coming months.

The member companies of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) have been contributing to the steady decline in CO2 emissions in Japan’s transport sector by increasing vehicle fuel efficiency and developing next-generation vehicles. While fully committed to addressing climate change, JAMA and its members also recognize that countermeasures to global warming have significant impacts on people’s lives and on the national economy. JAMA therefore would like to go on record with the following comments in regard to the mid-term target options formulated by the government.

1. General Comments on the Establishment of Japan’s Mid-Term Target

JAMA believes that a mid-term target for 2020 for the reduction of GHG emissions in Japan should be determined on the basis of the following criteria:

  • That it be premised on an international consensus—arrived at fairly and transparently, and in which all major greenhouse gas-emitting nations have participated—with respect to reduction targets;
  • That it be feasible, from both the economic and technological standpoints;
  • That it be fair, taking into account not only Japan’s front-rank status in CO2 emissions reduction, but also the reduction rates for the United States and the European Union; and
  • That its adoption be based on prior full public disclosure of the cost burdens involved in its achievement and other pertinent information.

2. Specific Comments on Individual Target Options (See table in annex)

  • In JAMA’s view, Case 2 is the most appropriate of the six mid-term target options for Japan, considering the country’s front-rank emissions reduction status. Assuming a total average emissions reduction rate of 25% by 2020 from the 1990 level for all developed countries (with an identical marginal abatement cost per ton of CO2*1), Case 2 mandates for Japan, as the equivalent of its share of that total, a reduction rate of 6-12% below the 2005 level.
  • However, assuming targets that have yet to be put forward by the U.S. and the European Union*2, even the assumed targets fall short of the reduction rates needed to fulfill the Case 2 scenario, and fail to ensure fairness in the comparative reduction rates for Japan, the U.S. and the EU. JAMA therefore believes that the Japanese government must persuade the U.S. and the EU to carry out emissions reduction efforts on a level comparable to Japan’s.
  • Case 3 is based on the Japanese government’s revised projection for Japan’s long-term energy demand*3, and represents a total cost (to the country’s public and private sectors) of 52 trillion yen. The feasibility of Case 3 is, however, thrown into doubt by the extent and scope of new technological applications and the heavier financial burdens (at all levels of society) it assumes. Furthermore, fairness with respect to the reduction rates for Japan, the U.S. and the EU is an issue in this case as well.
  • Feasibility as well as fairness are also highly questionable as regards Cases 4, 5 and 6. JAMA therefore considers as virtually nil the possibility that any of these latter three scenarios would be adopted as Japan’s mid-term target.
  1. ”Marginal abatement cost” here refers to the cost of emissions reduction per tCO2
  2. Assumed targets: for the U.S., a reduction of 19-20% compared to the 1990 level (current target: ±0% versus 1990); for the EU, a reduction of 23-27% compared to the 1990 level (current target: -20% from 1990).
  3. This refers to a revision of the Japanese government’s “Long-Term Energy Supply and Demand Outlook” announced in 2008.

3. CO2 Reduction in Road Transport: A Sectorwide Challenge

Reducing road transport-generated CO2 emissions requires an integrated approach—that is, a sectorwide combination of measures taken by automakers, government, fuel suppliers and vehicle users. While Japan’s automakers will continue to advance the development of vehicles with increased fuel efficiency and next-generation vehicles, JAMA looks forward to the Japanese government’s vigorous promotion of CO2 reduction in road transport through the following initiatives:

  • The provision of incentives—e.g., by means of tax reductions and purchasing subsidies—to expand the ownership of fuel-efficient and next-generation vehicles;
  • Promotion of research on battery technology, the key to further advances in next-generation vehicle development and diffusion;
  • Upgrading of the fuel supply infrastructure to accommodate the more widespread use of next-generation vehicles;
  • Improvements in road networks and infrastructure to reduce congestion; and
  • Promotion of ecodriving.

Annex: Goal Options as formulated by Japan’s Mid-Term Target Committee (PDF)