"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Statement by Mr. Yoshiro Mori, Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of Japan, at the High-Level Event on Climate Change

[Place] United Nations Headquarters New York
[Date] September 24, 2007
[Source] Minister of Foreign Affairs Japan
[Full text]

Messrs. Co-Chairs,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to appear before you at this important event.

Climate change is a challenge deeply related to the goal of achieving human security for all, especially the poor and vulnerable.

In May this year, Japan launched an initiative called "Cool Earth 50." One of the proposals it advanced is setting a long-term target of cutting global emissions by half from the current level by 2050 as a common goal for the entire world.

In order to achieve this goal, it is of vital importance to develop innovative technology that contributes to energy efficiency and conservation, for example, by drawing on renewable energy sources and employing advanced nuclear energy systems. For our part, we will promote the development and widest possible dissemination of such technology through international cooperation. An international project is already under way to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power generation, and Japan will contribute to it by world's cutting-edge technologies.

We also presented a long-term vision for building a low carbon society. To that end, we will embark on reforms that delve into our way of life and social systems, including creating lifestyles harmonious with nature, efficient transport systems including public transportation, and compact urban development.

Messrs. Co-Chairs,

Japan has proposed to the world "3 principles" in designing an effective post-2012 international framework. The first is that all major emitters must participate. The second is that the framework must be flexible and diverse. And the third is that it must achieve compatibility between environmental protection and economic growth. We would like to get all countries' support to these principles.

Japan will also approach the issue from the view point of energy measures. To that end, we will expand the endeavor to the entire world for improving energy efficiency and ensuring the safe and peaceful use of nuclear power. We believe that a sectoral approach is the key through which knowledge and experiences of industry effectively be shared and disseminated.

Furthermore, an effective integrated approach is to fight local pollution along with addressing global warming in developing countries (co-benefits approach).

Japan believes that discussions in fora such as the Major Economies Meeting hosted by the United States, the Asia- Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, and the East Asia Summit will also contribute to achieving consensus under the UNFCCC. At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum held earlier this month, leaders engaged in a constructive discussion on action that might be taken. A new forum should be established under the UNFCCC in which all countries participate. Finally, as chair of the G8 next year, Japan will work to intensify the discussion of this subject among major economies.

Messrs. Co-Chairs,

Japan will provide assistance, in the form of the technology it has developed and the experience it has accumulated, to those developing countries that make efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve economic growth in response to Japan's proposals. Instead of diverting the funds for assistance to such countries that has been traditionally extended, Japan will create a new financial mechanism for assistance in this area.

In Japan's view, it is important to mainstream adaptation to climate change within development policies. Japan will consider the effect of climate change on developing countries, especially the most vulnerable, as it is manifest in natural disasters and food and water problems.

Messrs. Co-Chairs,

Climate change knows no borders, and any effort to address it is doomed to failure unless all countries participate. So let us begin.

I propose that each country voluntarily reduce or eliminate tariffs on the products that have effect of greenhouse gas reduction, such as hybrid cars, wind power generators, and solar batteries.

Secondly, I call on every country to promote green purchasing. For its part, Japan has enacted and is vigorously implementing a law obliging its Government to purchase products evaluated by their effect on the environment. This scheme will soon be expanded from goods to services and buildings as well as from central government to local government.

Lastly, we must not forget that changes in our lifestyles and behavior can achieve a major reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases. We have called upon the people of Japan to set their air conditioners at no lower than 28 degrees Celsius in the summer and no higher than 20 in the winter. We have also proposed that the governments of every nation maintain their offices in an energy-efficient manner by setting their air conditioners at moderate temperatures. Subject to the agreement of the Member States, such a measure should be taken at the United Nations as well.

The key to implementing all these actions is leadership, which must be provided at the highest level in every country. For its part, Japan is making a concerted effort to ensure the achievement of the six percent reduction in emissions called for in the Kyoto accord. We have also announced that the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit will be environmentally friendly and carbon-neutral.

It is time for the nations of the world to stop focusing on the small differences that divide us and resolve instead to unite in addressing a problem that affects us all.

Thank you very much.