Davey ‘disappointed’ at Japan’s changes to its 2020 emissions target

The UK energy secretary Ed Davey has said it is “deeply disappointing” that Japan has revised down its 2020 emissions target.

Japan has set itself a target of a 3.8 per cent reduction in emission levels by 2020 compared to 2005, revising the previous level which was to reduce emissions by 25 per cent compared to 1990 levels.

This would represent an equivalent to a 3 per cent rise in emissions compared to 1990 levels, and Davey said this would be “a dramatic dilution of Japan’s mitigation ambition”.

He added: “This is inconsistent with the unequivocal message from the IPCC’s recent report on the scientific evidence, which clearly underlines the urgency of addressing emissions reductions and avoiding lock in to a high emissions pathway.

“The longer we delay effective action, the higher the risks and the greater the costs.”

Davey said that “those parties with the greatest responsibility and capability should take on the most ambitious targets”.

Japan has reaffirmed its 2050 target of reducing emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 compared to 1990, and Davey added “it will be important to understand how Japan intends to meet this, and set an ambitious 2030 target”.

Nuclear power delivered a quarter of Japan’s electricity needs before the Fukushima disaster two and a half years ago, and since then the Japanese government has scaled back nuclear generation and relied more on fossil fuel generation.

Davey said he “appreciated he difficult political task” the Japanese government has in “re-aligning the country’s domestic energy policies in the wake of the accident”, but added “a shift of this magnitude at this time represents a major step backwards”.

The energy secretary “urged” the government of Japan to “reassess this decision and increase the target in the near future as it clarifies its future energy policy”.