Japan submits its contribution to Paris 2015: 47 INDCs received

On Monday (July 20), the Japanese government officially submitted its climate change plan ahead of the UNFCCC Conference to be held in Paris at the end of the year. Few days before, also New Zealand and Singapore communicated their national contributions along with Marshall Islands that did it on Tuesday (July 21). With these, the list of Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) now adds up to 47 submissions including some of the major emitters among both developed and developing countries.

Japan’s INDC foresees a reduction of 26% by 2030 compared to 2013 (25.4% reduction compared to 2005). The Japanese contribution to the post-2020 global emissions reduction builds upon the new Strategic Energy Plan and takes into account the changes in the energy mix that followed the accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station.

According to the document, the Japan’s INDC is consistent with the long-term emission pathways to achieve the 2 degrees Celsius goal and with the objective of developed nation to reduce GHG emissions in aggregate by 80% or more by 2050. The plan specifies that all domestic economic sectors will be involved in the emissions reduction effort, including Energy, Industrial processes, Agriculture, Land-use, and Waste. As for the GHG coverage the document sets specific targets for emissions types: energy-originated CO2 will be reduced by 25% compared to 2013 while non-energy originated CO2 will contribute with a decrease of 6.7%, the target for Methane is set as 12.3% reduction, 6.1% for Nitrous oxide and finally Fluorinated gases (HFCs, PFCs, SF6 and NF3) will be cut by 25.1%.

As for the other countries, the New Zealand provisionally communicated the willingness to reduce GHG emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 (11% from 1990 levels). A final INDC will follow after the rules of the new agreement will be defined in particular on accounting methodologies for the land sector and access to carbon markets.

Similarly to the recently-submitted Chinese contribution, Singapore’s INDC aims at peaking its emissions around 2030 and reduce GHG intensity by 36% from 2005 levels by 2030.

Finally, the Republic of Marshall Islands commits to a quantified economy – wide target to reduce its GHG emissions to 32% below 2010 levels by 2025 and an indicative 2030 target of 45% below 2010 levels by 2030.

Some reactions already followed the release of these latest contributions. Specifically, Maiko Morishita, Oxfam Japan’s Policy Advisor, criticized the lack of ambition of the Japanese INDCs which relies on the construction of new coal-fired power plants, and therefore heading the country in the wrong direction. Similarly, according to the research coalition Climate Action Tracker, which has been reviewing the major countries’ INDC to assess their ambition towards the 2°C goal, the New Zealand’s preferred accounting rules, as stated in the document, are likely to generate sufficient credits to permit an increase in GHG emissions excl. LULUCF, rather than a decrease.

These pledges, along with all the INDCs submitted by the beginning of October, will be formally assessed in order to estimate the aggregate effect of the global emissions reduction effort.

A constantly updated summary of INDC submissions is available here.

(Bonn Climate Change Conference, June 2, 2015. Photo credit: UNclimatechange/Flickr)