【Statement】Regarding the historical Paris Agreement in COP21
－Reduce greenhouse gases, stop coal fired and nuclear power generation to create a sustainable society and economy－
December 16th, 2015
Executive Committee of Greens Japan
It is not an exaggeration to say that the historical ‘Paris Agreement’ that was reached at COP21 (the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) on December 12th in Paris was one that had the future of planet earth riding on it. 196 countries and regions, including those such as US and China which have not pro-actively implemented climate control policies until now, participated in this historical framework. The more challenging benchmarks that had been proposed by Green parties worldwide and other NPOs were ultimately adopted. It was agreed to restrict global temperature rises to under 1.5 degrees of the average temperature rises observed since the Industrial Revolution. Under this agreement, each member nation is supposed to re-examine and evaluate its goals every five years in order to rapidly reduce the global emissions of greenhouse gases; eventually to zero by the end of this century. Therefore, We, Greens Japan, take this opportunity to welcome this promising agreement.
However, a problem that still exists is that each member state’s obligations in achieving the goals set forth or the process that should be undertaken for nations who were unable to meet their targets has not been adequately defined. This is a big issue concerning whether the agreement has teeth to achieve it’s set goals. With this being the situation, each member nation must do their utmost to to achieve the goals set forth.
The most alarming problem facing Japan is that 48 coal fired power plants have been earmarked for construction. This will likely increase the emission of greenhouse effect gases by 10 percent (currently 1.4 billion tons of CO2 a year). Coal emits not only greenhouse gases but also many harmful elements which can damage human health as well as the environment. The Japanese government therefore needs to recognize the serious issues brought forth by coal fired energy and firmly order private businesses to drop or review these plans.
At the same time, we strongly emphasize that we should not go back to nuclear power generation to combat global warming. When one considers the tremendous radioactive contamination and health damage that are associated with this form of energy, it is obvious that restarting nuclear power plants or prolonging their life span is not a path we should proceed down. Therefore, the government should immediately transit to a policy of decommissioning all nuclear plants so that we can divert the huge amount of budget and human resources invested in nuclear power generation towards investment of renewable energy.
When confronting the global warming issue, human beings are faced with the choice of two options: reducing greenhouse gases or continuing to pursue economic “growth” or a state of “affluence”. We believe that the idea preaching the supremacy of economic growth should be revisited and that we should move to a more sustainable economy; one that can live in harmony with the environment. Development of technology to economize and recycle energy will benefit not only in the launching of new industries as well as in the increasing of employment, but will also greatly change the social and economic structure of the nation.
From November until December, as we moved closer toward the COP21, Greens Japan worked together with NPOs, active individuals, political groups and lawmakers unaffiliated with major political parties (both international and domestic) on campaigns to raise awareness and to request local administrations to enforce measures against global warming. In order to fulfill the Paris agreement, we should endeavour to produce and reuse energy within our local communities in order to restore and preserve the ecosystem. We promise to continue to propose measures to protect the earth against warming and collaboratively work towards that goal at the local, national and global level.
The following statement was translated by Greens Japan's translation team and proofread on a gratis basis by a member of the Australian Greens (Victorian Branch), Glen Cowan on behalf of Greens Japan.