UK and Japan announce cooperation on climate change

6 May 2014

LONDON: The UK and Japan have announced their joint commitment to tackling climate change, with emphasis on energy cooperation.

The two countries are the latest in a line of international actors to join forces to mitigate future warming. In March the US and Europe announced their collaboration, which was quickly followed by the release of a joint statement by China and the EU which emphasized that “credible and verifiable domestic action” is necessary to effectively cut greenhouse emissions.

The UK and Japan noted that the alarming findings of the IPCC report “re-emphasizes the urgent need for governments, businesses and individuals to tackle climate change. In addition, it was acknowledged that there the low carbon economy presents “huge economic opportunities” and can be “a new driver of growth and jobs, and for greater security of energy supply”. Globally, the low carbon goods and services sector is worth US$5 trillion, with annual growth of close to 4%.

Cooperation in both the public and private sectors was pledged by Japanese Prime Minister Abe and the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron. The two nations’ leaders noted that a “diverse, efficient and clean energy mix” should be a central facet of an effective climate policy.

While nuclear energy continues to be an important aspect of bilateral energy relations, renewables are gaining prominence. Japan has been championing alternative supplies of energy, with the latest Ernst and Young’s Renewable energy country attractiveness index (RECAI), recording that Japan overtook the UK to take fourth place. The index notes that Japan has 7GW of renewables, due largely to its burgeoning solar sector and offshore wind market.

Energy efficiency measures were also discussed by the heads of state and attention was drawn to the Smart Community Project MOU signed on 12 March by the UK Government and the Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

In addition to domestic efforts to promote sustainable energy supplies, the partnership guarantees provision of climate finance for other countries who wish to develop climate resilient economies. Between 2010 and 2012, Japan donated $13.5bn of public finance and is on track to give US$16 billion of public and private finance over the 3-year period between 2013 and 2015. The UK will provide £4 billion (US$6.79 billion) from 2011 to 2016.

Both countries are undertaking notable efforts to boost international engagement with climate action. The inaugural meeting of the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance (the Lab) is being hosted by the UK in June as part of the Clean Energy Finance Summit. Similarly, the Japanese Government has established the Innovation for Cool Earth Forum (ICEF) which plans to meet in Tokyo in October 2014.

Damian Ryan, Senior Policy Manger at The Climate Group, commented:“International collaboration is essential to effectively addressing climate change. The joint statement from the UK and Japanese governments underlining their commitment to greater climate ambition and support for low carbon development is therefore encouraging. With a new global climate treaty due to be agreed in Paris next December, countries like Japan and the UK – as finance, technology and policy leaders – have a role and responsibility to push for greater action and ambition. Japan’s US$28 billion investment in clean energy last year alone, and the 100,000 people employed in clean energy in the UK, show the huge opportunities and benefits that such leadership can bring” 

Related news:

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Pollution caused 1 in 8 deaths in 2012, UN calls for 'concerted action'

By Alana Ryan

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