U.N. expresses sense of urgency to achieve climate target

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an expert panel of the United Nations, has released a report on measures to mitigate global warming.

The report states that emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases must begin to fall by 2025 to avoid the serious effects of global warming. Based on that, it called for increased efforts in various sectors, including power generation, transportation and manufacturing.

The international goal is to keep global warming to within 1.5 C compared to the pre-industrial era. The report can be said to reflect a strong sense of urgency regarding delays in implementing measures against global warming.

In separate reports released so far, the IPCC has warned that if global warming continues at this rate, temperatures will rise by more than 1.5 C within the next 20 years, and measures to mitigate the impact of climate change would not be expected to be effective.

In response, the latest report stated that the ability to achieve the strict goal will depend on the results in the coming few years.

Japan must step up its efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions through such measures as expanding the use of renewable energy and restarting nuclear power reactors as soon as possible. Japan should contribute to reductions on a global scale, for example, supporting developing countries by providing them with technologies to absorb and store carbon dioxide.

However, the world’s energy situation has recently changed drastically due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Measures against global warming have already tended to run into difficulties due to the intertwined interests of countries. Conflict among nations has become increasingly complicated as Western nations are stepping up efforts to move away from Russian-produced fossil fuels as part of their economic sanctions against Moscow.

A stable supply of inexpensive electricity is the foundation of industrial competitiveness and people’s livelihoods. Going forward, it is important to discuss the issue of global warming from various perspectives, including energy security and economic costs.

In Japan last month, an energy warning was issued for the first time regarding the tight supply-demand balance in regions including Kanto and Tohoku, due to the suspension of operations at some thermal power plants caused by an earthquake in the Tohoku region and a sharp drop in temperatures. Ensuring a stable supply of energy is a top priority for Japan because of its low energy self-sufficiency.

It is necessary to steadily promote decarbonization efforts while paying close attention to securing oil and natural gas needed for the time being.

Global warming is an important issue that has a significant impact on the future of humankind.

It is vital to take this opportunity to further advance discussions on measures against global warming that have been taking place around the world, through such measures as promoting the development of sectors including renewable energy and energy-saving technology.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 6, 2022)