THE VINE AUGUST 31, 2009
As I mentioned a few months ago, today's election in Japan will likely have big consequences for climate policy. The Democratic Party of Japan, which just pole-vaulted into power and basically ended 54 years of one-party rule, has promised to cut the country's emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020—closer in line with what scientists are urging—as well as set up a cap-and-trade system for carbon. (The outgoing LDP had envisioned a mere 8 percent cut by 2020 and wasn't, as far as I can tell, proposing a nationwide cap-and-trade program.)
So, no surprise, as Bloomberg reports today, the DPJ is already facing a fierce backlash from industry groups:
The DPJ’s goal is "a very high hurdle," the Petroleum Association of Japan said in a statement released in Tokyo. The cuts will have a "severe impact," the Federation of Electric Power Companies said in another statement.
Toyota, Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and the other members of the auto group said today the new government should take the opinions of industry groups and the impact on the economy into consideration before implementing policies.
We'll see if the DPJ holds the line or if it scales back its promises some—here's a good Reuters piece on that question—but even if those ambitious goals are watered down some, Japan is still be the first major industrialized power to actually bolster its climate ambitious in the run-up to the treaty talks at Copenhagen this December. (Well, unless you count Scotland, whose parliament voted in June to cut emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.)