Use Japan’s technology to help developing nations reduce emissions

In order for developing countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions while achieving economic growth, it is important for developed countries to support them. New rules must accelerate this process.

During the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) held in Britain recently, new rules were agreed on regarding international trading of greenhouse gas emission reductions.

The new rules are a mechanism that allows developed countries to count a portion of the emission reductions in developing countries as their own reduction, when they provide technology or financial assistance that leads to decarbonization in developing countries.

This idea was included in the Paris Agreement, an international framework adopted in 2015, but had not been implemented due to conflicting opinions between developed and developing countries that prevented specific rules from being decided. The latest agreement should be welcomed.

The COP26 agreement clearly states that efforts will be made to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 C by the end of this century compared to preindustrial levels.

Currently, emerging and developing countries account for about 60% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve the target, it is essential to curb the emissions of developing countries.

If the new rules are implemented, it is estimated that nearly 30% of global emissions could be reduced by 2030.

The government said Japan’s proposal was included in the agreed mechanism. Japan needs to strengthen its leadership so that the global reduction of emissions will progress steadily.

If developed and developing countries duplicate reduction counts, emissions cuts will appear greater than they actually are. For this reason, a provision was also established to prevent duplication.

How to count reductions will be discussed between the two trading countries, but it is assumed that in many cases they will split the reported amount in half.

Japan has already established its own system to support developing countries, mainly in Asia, in those nations’ introduction of solar power generation and energy saving technologies. It plans to use this system to reduce emissions by a cumulative total of 100 million tons by fiscal 2030, efforts that are also said to fall under the new rules.

The government aims to reduce emissions in fiscal 2030 by 46% compared to fiscal 2013. In order to achieve this goal, it should enhance its support for developing countries.

Japanese companies have advanced energy saving technologies such as high-efficiency boilers and air conditioning for office use. Using the new trading rules will also be a good opportunity to sell Japanese technologies.

Japan is also considered to be ahead of other countries in technology for the underground confinement of carbon dioxide emitted from factories and other facilities, as well as technology related to the use of hydrogen. The public and private sectors must work together on technological innovation. It is likewise important for Japan to strive to reduce its own emissions, in order to gain understanding from developing countries.

— The original Japanese article appeared in The Yomiuri Shimbun on Nov. 23, 2021.