Abe Says Japan to Raise Climate Support for Poorer Nations

Life-threatening Sea Level Rise in Kiribati

A resident of the village Eita is sitting and watching the ocean water slowly flood his village. Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has said that Japan will raise its support for developing nations to 1.3 trillion yen ($10.6 billion) by 2020 to help them tackle climate change.

Photographer: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • Japan seeking global framework on greenhouse gas emissions
  • Technology advances needed to tackle climate change, Abe says

Japan will boost its annual financial support to 1.3 trillion yen ($10.6 billion) by 2020 to help developing countries tackle climate change.

The announcement, by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, comes as world leaders prepare to gather in Paris for talks aimed at producing a global deal on the climate. The summit, known at COP21, is scheduled to begin on Monday in the French capital.

“I will attend COP21 and would very much like for an agreement to be reached on a new global framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Abe told a meeting on Thursday, adding that the extra support will help pave the way toward the goal of $100 billion in climate financing a year by 2020 from developed countries.

Japan will also contribute by promoting innovation, Abe said.

“The development of revolutionary technology is key to both tackling climate change and economic growth,” he said.

Green Climate Fund

The 1.3 trillion yen commitment is for one year and includes support from both public and private sectors, according to a document from the Ministry of the Environment. The amount is 30 percent more than what Japan currently allocates annually.

Among the key issues in Paris talks will be how to mobilize and share the burden of providing financial support. Japan follows the U.S. in terms of pledged amount to the Green Climate Fund, set up to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries, according to the fund’s website.

Meanwhile, newly released figures show some gains being made by Japan at home.

The nation’s greenhouse gas emissions fell 3 percent in the year ended March 31 compared with a year ago thanks to energy saving measures, according to preliminary figures from the environment ministry.

The ratio of electricity output from renewable sources excluding hydro also rose to 3.2 percent from 2.2 percent and emissions fell even with no output from nuclear power stations, according to the document.

It’s the first annual drop in emissions since 2009.

Still, Japan is facing criticism from environmental groups because of dozens of plans at home to build power stations powered by coal, the most polluting fossil fuel, and for the financing of coal projects abroad. The Japanese government supports advanced coal technologies, while some governments and companies in Europe and the U.S. are moving away from coal.

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