Japan abandons climate target, weakens chance of ambitious outcome from UN Climate Talks

Press release - 15 November, 2013
Warsaw, 15 November 2013 – About the Japanese government today downgrading its 2020 GHG cuts, Hisayo Takada, Climate Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Japan said:

"Today the Japanese government announced that it aims for a 3.8% greenhouse gas emissions reduction compared to 2005. However, according to the Kyoto baseline in 1990, this is a 3.1% increase. Prime Minister Abe is tricking the world and the Japanese people.”

This announcement comes on the fifth day of the annual UN climate negotiations in Warsaw, Poland.  At the meeting, governments must agree to additional climate action to put the world on a track to avoiding dangerous climate change.  They must also agree on the work schedule for negotiating a new global treaty to be adopted in 2015, including tabling their emission cuts for the period after 2020 next year.

Martin Kaiser, Head of the Greenpeace Delegation, said:

“The International Energy Agency, the World Bank and the IPCC agree that we must leave the vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground. It is the only way to avoid catastrophic climate impacts.  Not only is the weakening of its greenhouse gas emissions cuts heading in the wrong direction, announcing the downgrade in ambition now is highly destructive to the Climate Talks.  We have already seen a chilling effect on the negotiations in anticipation of this announcement.”

The downgraded target is based on the assumption that no nuclear power plants will resume operations – however, the government will likely increase the target if those plants come back online.  All nuclear power plants were shut down for safety reasons in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2011.  According to a Greenpeace study, Japan can achieve emission cuts of more than 20% without relying on its nuclear energy sector [1].

“Nuclear energy cannot be a solution for climate change. It is too dangerous, too expensive and too late. Japan learned a dire lesson about this recently.  Greenpeace has shown that Japan can get dramatic emission reductions while shutting down nuclear entirely, which the Japanese government is not even planning to do,” continued Takada.

“The 'increased' target may sound good for some Japanese industries, but it will be a nightmare for the rest of the Japanese people. We do not want any more disasters, especially if it can be avoided by a political decision."  


[1] Energy [R]evolution 2012



Martin Kaiser, Head of Greenpeace Delegation
Mobile: (PL) +48 518 785 814 (DE) +49 171 8780817

Hisayo Takada,Climate / Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Japan
Tel:  03-5338-9800 / Mobile: 080-6647-8503

Tina Loeffelbein, Head of Media Relations COP19,
Mobile: +49 151 167 209 15