UK, Japan act on their Paris climate pledges

g7-leadersThe United Kingdom and Japan have taken steps this week to bring their international climate change commitments into national law.

Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom announced this week that the UK would take the domestic action needed to reach the net-zero emissions by 2050 goal pledged in Paris at COP21 just three months ago.  The first step is a bill to amend the existing energy law, the Climate Change Act, to include the mid-century net-zero goal.  Currently the UK’s climate change law requires an 80% emissions cut by 2050.  The effort to bring the global promise into national law has been pushed by backbenchers like former Secretary for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband, who sees the UK’s action as a victory for the international climate movement.  Notably, Prime Minister Cameron (to whom Miliband lost in the 2015 election) has been criticized for recent cuts in renewable energy subsidies and for encouraging fracking.

Environment Minister Tamayo Marukawa announced a climate change plan to achieve Japan’s pledge of reducing 26% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.  It includes energy efficiency measures and broader use of hydrogen energy. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet is expected to approve the plan after a two-month public comment period.  Said Marukawa, “It is very significant that we can show our determination to make contributions after the Paris Agreement.”