Japan is leading on business climate engagement. Will ambitious policies follow?

(World Resources Institute, 28 Jun 2019) The Japanese government has announced its long-term climate and growth strategy under the Paris Agreement on climate change. The announcement comes ahead of the G20 Summit hosted by Japan this week (June 28-29) in Osaka.

Japan's publication of the long-term strategy is a welcome contribution to the Paris Agreement process. Though it falls short of net-zero emission goals announced by other countries (such as the UK, Sweden and Costa Rica), it does include pioneering business engagement and innovation components. In fact, company actions are at the center of Japan's new long-term strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, making it the first country to provide explicit government support for companies to set science-based targets (SBTs) for their greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

By stepping up with leading mitigation targets, Japanese companies are providing a foundation for the government to set more ambitious policies and regulations, initiating a positive feedback loop in which bold government policies and private sector leadership reinforce each other, and together take climate action to the next level.

Growing Role of Sector- and Company-Level Approaches to Climate Stabilization

Japan notes in its long-term strategy that international climate programs including the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) "are becoming more influential, and the Japanese companies need to respond to such initiatives." As such, Japan's response to climate is focused on transitioning to a "decarbonized society" through business-led innovation, a theme articulated by the Japan Business Federation (the Keidanren) and mirrored in Prime Minister Abe's comments earlier this year. Sector emissions goals and science-based targets at the company level advance business-

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World Resources Institute, 28 Jun 2019: Japan is leading on business climate engagement. Will ambitious policies follow?