中国CO2削減 最大排出国の責任はどこに

The Yomiuri Shimbun
China needs to fulfill its obligation in combating global warming
中国CO2削減 最大排出国の責任はどこに

China should fulfill its responsibility in fighting global warming as the world’s largest carbon dioxide emitter.

The country has submitted to the United Nations its target for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Its main goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by 60 percent to 65 percent per unit of gross domestic product by the end of 2030, compared with 2005 levels.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang emphasized his country’s determination in this respect, saying, “[China] will do its utmost to combat climate change.” Given its numerical target, however, China’s CO2 emissions are bound to increase if its GDP continues to grow.

China has said it will ensure the total amount of domestic CO2 emissions decreases after reaching a peak around 2030.

China’s reduction target is far from plausible. Its stance seems to reflect its government’s determination to place priority on achieving economic growth rather than adopting environmental protection measures.

A new framework to replace the Kyoto Protocol on global warming will be worked out at a U.N. climate change conference in Paris — officially titled 21st Session of the Conference of Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) — toward the end of the year. The new framework is expected to take effect in 2020.

In preparation for the COP21 meeting, developed nations have unveiled their respective objectives for reductions in total emissions.

China’s per-GDP reduction target can be viewed as an attempt to emphasize its difference from more industrialized countries in its efforts to fight global warming. The country’s posture is based on its belief that developed nations should do more to address the problem, given that their industrial activities led to global warming.

Large rise in emissions

However, it should be noted that in recent years there has been a remarkable increase in CO2 emissions from newly emerging and developing countries, which are not obliged to curtail their emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. China accounts for about one-fourth of the world’s total CO2 emissions. Its per-capita emissions compare with European Union levels.

It is essential for China to adopt an even more proactive approach toward the problem, a task necessary for reducing CO2 emissions worldwide. Therefore, China needs to improve its energy efficiency while also curbing its thermal power generation, which results in a large amount of CO2 emissions. We believe Japan’s energy-saving technology would help China’s efforts to reduce its emissions.

The list of nations yet to unveil emission reduction targets includes India, the world’s third-largest emitter, as well as Southeast Asian nations, whose emissions are sharply increasing. We are concerned that they may choose to set insufficient reduction goals as a result of China’s influence.

A lesson must be learned from the Kyoto Protocol in making sure the envisaged framework fulfills its purposes. It is important for all nations to steadily carry out emission-reduction measures that are commensurate with their respective amounts of CO2 emissions.

The Japanese government will soon finalize a numerical target requiring this country to reduce its emissions by 26 percent by the end of fiscal 2030 from fiscal 2013 levels. The figure can be regarded as a target that favorably compares with EU and U.S. objectives.

An important task for Japan is to play a leadership role in trying to create a fair framework for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 8, 2015)

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