30 September, 2004

With Russia's ratification, the Kyoto Protocol will now enter into force

Mie Asaoka
President, Kiko Network

September 30, 2004, Russian government held a cabinet meeting and will submit a draft law to ratify the Kyoto Protocol to the Duma (lower House of parliament) on September 30. As President Putin's United Russia Party controls more than two thirds of seats in the Duma, it is thought very likely that the new legislation passes. Though unexpectedly long period-6 years and 10 months have passed since COP3 in 1997, overcoming the withdrawal of the USA, the Kyoto Protocol could soon take effect.

The Kyoto Protocol is one and only international framework to prevent climate change and the first step to promote the drastic reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions in the future. Kiko Network, which has continuously engaged in achieving these objectives since the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, welcomes the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol.

The entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol is important progress for Japan that has ratified in 2002. The reduction target of "6% from the base year's emissions" must be achieved under the international treaty. Japan, as the host country of COP3, is responsible for complying the Kyoto Protocol and playing a leading role in the further reduction after 2013 as well.

Currently, the review of the Guideline of Measure to Prevent Global Warming is under way. However, it has become clear that Japan can't achieve the target of 6% reduction under policies and measures currently outlined. On the other hand, the industrial sector's trend to postpone the introduction of the necessary measures and evade stronger measures has been increasing in force.

Further evasions of responsibilities and the postponement of the introduction of the necessary measures don't only endanger the achievement of the target but also delay constructing the society to prevent climate change. The Measures to Prevent Global Warming should be strengthened immediately. It is urgent to introduce effective measures such as carbon-tax, the energy-efficiency standards, and institutionalization to calculate and report the emissions data.

Under The Law Concerning the Promotion of the Measures to Cope with Global Warming, the Kyoto Target Achievement Plan is to be statutory after the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol. This plan should be decided with the transparency through disclosure of necessary information and public and Diet participation, and it should not be affected by the Guideline's problems of closed policy-making process and insufficient measures.