Mr. Sugita, President of Nikkei Inc.,
Distinguished leaders from Asian countries,
Ladies and gentlemen.
It is a great pleasure for me to take this opportunity today to speak before distinguished Asian leaders from various fields, and I would like to thank the organizers of this conference.
As a political leader having responsibility for the future, I am deeply concerned with global environmental issues, and, in particular, climate change.
Asia is the center of growth in the world, and if we neglect this issue in Asia, we run the risk of giving deep negative impacts for the future of the entire world.
At the East Asia Summit in January, thanks to the superb leadership of President Arroyo, we were able to reach agreement on energy security, which plays a part in addressing this issue. I would like to take this opportunity to pay my tribute to President Arroyo once again. Subsequently, in my meetings with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and U.S. President George W. Bush in April, we agreed to strengthen our cooperation to resolve the issue of climate change.
Against this backdrop, today, I would like to share with you my ideas and proposals on this issue. And I will call upon the entire world with the determination that I share with you, the Asian leaders.
Looking back over the history of the Earth and humanity, we find that fossil resources such as coal and oil buried around the world have been accumulated by living organisms through gradual fixation of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over dozens and hundreds of million years. We, the human beings, however, have been rapidly@burning up these precious resources in the just over 200 years since the industrial revolution, releasing enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
According to a report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global warming is beyond doubt. There is concern that progression of global warming would increase the frequency of extreme weather events such as heavy floods and droughts, and increase health hazards by infectious diseases. It may also lead to crises in food production resulting from depletion of water resources.
Now is the time that we must act. Otherwise how could we hold ourselves accountable to our future generations?
We have been making vigorous efforts to address this issue. The Kyoto Protocol was humanity's first step to reduce greenhouse gases as a concrete measure to address global warming. Nevertheless, we must also acknowledge that there are limitations to it. Therefore, we must create a new framework which moves beyond Kyoto Protocol, in which the entire world will participate in emissions reduction.
There are, by and large, three concerns that have been raised about our endeavor. I am convinced, however, that we can overcome these concerns.
The first concern is that endeavors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would hinder economic growth. I believe it is possible to maintain economic growth while promoting emission reduction by rallying human wisdom to develop technologies and reform social life. In particular, Japan, as a country with advanced technologies, can make a significant contribution to making them compatible.
The second concern is that even if your own country takes steps to address the issue, it will not lead to the resolution of the issue on a global scale unless other countries also take action. This is absolutely true. Global warming is an issue that should be addressed by the entire world. The entire world lives on the same Earth and breathes the same air. This is precisely why it is indispensable to establish a new framework in which both industrialized and developing countries address this issue together.
The third concern is the argument that goes: is it not unfair to ask developing countries to take steps. The reality is that some of the developing countries are emitting substantial amounts of greenhouse gases, and their participation is indispensable. I believe it is possible to establish an equitable framework by making a mechanism which enables each country to take measures according to its responsibility and capability. At the same time, by promoting technology transfers from industrialized countries to developing countries, we must also narrow the gap between our capabilities to respond to this issue.
Japan faced serious pollution and two oil crises, and was obliged to bear "burdens" such as environmental regulations and energy conservation measures over the short term. However, they are considered today to have been wise, long-term investments: because as a result of the concerted efforts of the public and private sectors in response to the strict environmental and energy restrictions, Japan's energy efficiency has improved by 37 percent over the past 30 years and oil consumption has decreased by 8 percent even though the GDP has doubled. Moreover, we have gained strong international competitiveness by developing fuel-efficient vehicles and energy-saving electrical equipment. The keys to Japan's success were our outstanding technologies, social mechanisms and traditions harmonious with the environment, and the solid will of our people.
Overview of my Proposals
Today, I would like to extend to you all an invitation to a beautiful planet, Earth in the year 2050.
The invitation that I am going to talk about will also form the centerpiece of the 21st Century Environment Nation Strategy that I am advocating.
I am calling my initiative "Cool Earth 50," a strategy consisting of the following three pillars that I would like to propose as a package to address this issue.
First, a long-term strategy aimed at global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Second, a proposition of three principles for establishing an international framework to address global warming from 2013 onwards.
Third, launching of a national campaign to ensure that Japan achieves the Kyoto Protocol target.
Proposal 1: Long-Term Strategy
First, let me introduce the first pillar, the long-term strategy.
Goal setting is a vital part in laying out a strategy.
In order to achieve the objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to stabilize the level of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, we must curb the global greenhouse gas emissions to the same level as the capacity of natural sinks. Bearing this in mind, I propose 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. Considering the fact that current global emissions are more than double the capacity of natural sinks, which means that gas concentrations in the atmosphere will only increase, it is imperative that we first share this goal internationally.
Then, what would be the means to achieve this goal?
Unfortunately, the current technology will be insufficient to achieve this goal of halving emissions by 2050. Thus, I would like to present a long-term vision for developing innovative technologies and building a low carbon society, centering on those technologies.
First, on innovative technology development, we want to develop technologies through international cooperation which enable both economic growth and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to be achieved at the same time.
An international project is already underway to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power generation, which accounts for 30 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. Japan will contribute to this effort by world's cutting-edge technologies.
We will also enhance the reliability and safety of nuclear energy, and develop advanced nuclear power generation technologies, such as high-temperature gas-cooled reactors and small reactors, so that safe and peaceful use of nuclear power will be expanded.
We will furthermore work to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of solar power generation and fuel cells and promote the use of next-generation automobiles as quickly as possible.
To give an example in the industrial sector, research is now being conducted on a technology that utilizes hydrogen to reduce the amount of coke used in producing iron from iron ore. We will work to make dynamic progress in technological innovation in industry, too.
By creating a low carbon society we aim to realize a society where high quality of life and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions are achieved at the same time. More specifically, we will embark on reforms that delve into our way of life and social systems, including creating lifestyles harmonious with nature such as forests, efficient transport systems including public transportation, and compact urban development.
Japan will vigorously call on countries around the world to reach an international consensus on the long-term goal of halving emissions by 2050 and the steps for achieving it. We, on our part, will make significant contributions by harnessing both our advanced technologies and traditional social systems.
In particular, Japan has long cherished the sentiment of "mottainai" (literally, "don't waste what is valuable") and that has thoroughly promoted recycling. We have fostered a good tradition of urban development committed to preserving greenery, going as far back as the Edo period. The amount of carbon dioxide emissions by GDP of Japan is the least among major industrialized countries in the world, and public transportation accounts for 47 percent of all movement of people in Japan-by far the highest among industrialized countries. We will demonstrate the "Japan model" in the world, which utilizes its traditions and advanced technologies to create a society in harmony with the environment.
Proposal 2: Mid-Term Strategy
There is only one Earth, and there are no national boundaries for the air. Even the most outstanding strategy would be meaningless unless all people living on Earth participate in it.
As the second pillar of my strategy, I propose to the world "3 principles" in designing a concrete framework for addressing global warming beyond 2013, which aims to have the participation of all people on Earth.
The first principle is that all major emitters must participate, thus moving beyond the Kyoto Protocol, leading to global reduction of emissions.
The post-2013 framework for combating global warming must make greater strides than the current Kyoto Protocol towards the global goal of halving emissions by 2050.
To that end, we must create a framework in which all major emitters of carbon dioxide participate, including the United States, the world's largest, China, the second largest, and India, the fifth largest.
The second principle is that the framework must be flexible and diverse, taking into consideration the circumstances of each country.
Each country has an obligation to reduce emissions under the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities." The measures by industrialized and developing countries do not need to be the same, and even within developing countries, capabilities and circumstances differ between emerging economies and other countries. The framework must, therefore, be flexible and diverse so as to enable each country to maximize its efforts to reduce emissions.
The third principle is that the framework must achieve compatibility between environmental protection and economic growth by utilizing energy conservation and other technologies.
A global response will require compatibility with each country's economic growth. If the framework required economic growth to be sacrificed, the participation of many countries cannot be expected.
The key to achieving compatibility is technological development and its widespread use. The participation of the entire world will become possible by creating a framework which promotes advancements in and use of cutting-edge technologies such as hybrid cars and solar batteries.
In realizing these principles, I hereby announce that Japan will extend wide-ranging support to developing countries with high aspirations that say "No" to further global warming, make efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve economic growth in a compatible way. Japan will provide assistance utilizing its technology and experience, in areas such as reduction of greenhouse gas emission, forest conservation; measures for regions vulnerable to effects of global warming such as rises in sea level and droughts; promotion of use of clean energy, while taking into consideration various circumstances of developing countries.
It is our intention to provide such assistance to the developing countries which stand ready to coordinate their policies actively in response to Japan's proposals. Thus, these will be a new type of assistance in which Japan will present proposals based on policies which will lead to cooperation. Japan will pay special attention to developing countries, and in particular, to the LLDCs, that are exposed to dangers such as submersion of land and desertification as a result of emissions by other countries.
And we will be creating a new financial mechanism for these assistances. Instead of diverting the funds for assistance to developing countries that has been traditionally extended, Japan is ready to look into the possibility of creating a new financial mechanism with substantial size of funds for relatively long-term, and call on other industrialized countries and international organizations such as the World Bank and United Nations to respond and take part in international cooperation.
(Measures on Energy)
We will also approach the issue from the viewpoint of energy measures, which are inseparably linked with the issue of climate change. We will develop the Cebu Declaration which formulates energy conservation goals among other things, and expand this endeavor for improving energy efficiency to the entire world. Furthermore, we will actively promote international efforts to expand the safe and peaceful use of nuclear power, as well as providing assistance such as infrastructure development for the introduction of nuclear power to developing countries.
(Examination of Other Methods)
In addition to all these, various other methods are being discussed in order to implement the mid-term strategy, such as an integrated approach to fight pollution and global warming in developing countries; emissions trading; and economic incentives. We will study these methods from wide aspects, including the effectiveness of measures and impact on the economy, based on our own experience and the experience of other countries.
Proposal 3: Launching a National Campaign for Achieving the Kyoto Protocol Target
The third pillar of my proposal is to launch a national campaign for achieving Japan's Kyoto Protocol target.
We are determined to exert all efforts by the entire nation to ensure that Japan achieves its commitment to reduce emissions by 6 percent. We will add new measures, in particular, for offices and households with significant increases in emissions. We will complete our review of the Kyoto Protocol Target Achievement Plan by the end of this fiscal year.
The Government, for its part, has already produced substantial results by taking the lead in reducing the greenhouse gases, such as replacing all official government vehicles with low-emission vehicles. We will request municipalities and major business entities to make their reduction plans public, and urge them to accelerate their actions.
We will launch a national campaign and strengthen our endeavors, including systematic response. With the motto of "1 person, 1 day, 1 kg" for reducing greenhouse gases, we will call upon the people to reexamine lifestyles and call for efforts and creative ideas at home and workplace. Specifically, we will promote the "Cool Biz" (casual dress code without a tie and a jacket to reduce air-conditioning during the summer) to make it a standard practice in summer, as well as the reduction of the amount of garbage, the replacement of incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent lights, and advisory services to conserve energy.
Furthermore, we will solicit new proposals from the people for expanding the national campaign, and will actively adopt new proposals, once their effectiveness are proven.
Through the measures I have described, I am determined to exert my utmost efforts to tackle the issue of global warming together with the people of Japan. It is my sincere hope that each and every country, be it an industrialized or developing country, will accept my invitation and walk together towards the "Cool Earth" in 2050.
I will continue my efforts based on my proposals, and aim to produce fruit at the G8 Summit in Toyako, Hokkaido, next year. I ask for your understanding and cooperation in this endeavor.
My vision of "a beautiful country" is also about raising a question: should we not transform our civilization in order for humanity to continue its path of development while striking harmony with the global environment. I am convinced that Japan can definitely make a significant contribution to the human civilization by fully harnessing our good traditions and world cutting-edge technologies, and making wholehearted efforts. So, let us join hands and work together to make "Cool Earth" a reality.
Thank you very much.