WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Japan’s decision to drastically scale back its target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions could hurt efforts to craft a global deal to fight climate change, delegates at U.N. talks said Friday.
The new target approved by the Japanese Cabinet calls for reducing emissions by 3.8 percent from their 2005 level by 2020.
The revision was necessary because the earlier goal of a 25 percent reduction from the 1990 level was unrealistic, the chief government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, told reporters in Tokyo.
The new target represents a 3 percent increase over 1990 emissions.
Given Japan’s status as the world’s third largest economy and fifth largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, the decision to back away from the more ambitious target could be a significant setback for efforts to reach a new global climate agreement in 2015.
The European Union’s delegates at the climate talks in Warsaw “expressed disappointment,” while U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres summed up the mood by saying there’s “regret” over Japan’s decision.
However, she praised Japan’s advances in increasing energy efficiency and in solar energy investments, and predicted that the Japanese “will soon see that the current target is actually conservative.”
“I don’t have any words to describe my dismay,” China’s official Xinhua News Agency cited Su Wei, deputy chief of the Chinese delegation to the climate talks, as telling reporters in Warsaw.