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Key Message to Policy Makers

• Asia holds the key to global climate stability.

• Science-based initiatives are indispensable to the formulation of climate policies.

• Government of Japan has promoted the creation of scientific bases in Asia

since the 1980s, which has aided in formulating policy, including INDCs in Asian nations.

• LoCARNet has organised relevant research communities based on ownership in each country, to engage in the challenge of low-carbon development in Asia.

It is hoped Asia will take lead the way in a global transition to low-carbon societies, by establishing and implementing science-based policies.

Japan's Strategies to Support Scientific Climate Policymaking in Asia

Scope of Scientific Climate Policy

12.1.1.1 Scientific Context for Climate Policy

Based on observation results and model predictions, in the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC (AR5), Working Group I deemed that cumulative anthropogenic GHG emissions and global temperature increase have a proportional relationship (Fig. 12.1) (IPCC 2013: Summary for Policymakers. In Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science basis, p. 28). Carbon cycle research has shown that almost half of anthropogenic GHGs emitted are not absorbed and remain in the atmosphere. As the atmospheric lifetime of CO2, which accounts for the majority of GHG, is thought to be more than 100 years, as long as emissions continue, the amount of CO2 remaining in the atmosphere can only continue to rise. According to global warming theory, a rise in atmospheric concentration of GHGs directly results in a rise in temperature; therefore, as long as human-induced GHG emissions continue, so will the rise in global atmospheric temperature.

It is precisely because of the proportional relationship described above that we now face a critical issue—which is that whatever the temperature rise compared with the pre-industrial figure is, human-induced emissions must be brought to zero when such temperature is reached in order to stabilise climate. Ultimately, this means we must create a zero-emission world.

Fig. 12.1 Zero emission is the ultimate solution to stabilise climate

Agreements were reached at the G8 summit and UNFCCC COP16 (Cancun Agreements) of 2010 on a policy objective to limit the temperature rise to two degrees over pre-industrial levels, based on Article 2, 'Objective', of the Framework Convention on Climate Change, which calls for 'a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system'. If the cumulative emissions corresponding to 2 oC are read from the IPCC/AR5 proportional graph, from which the cumulative anthropogenic emissions already released to date are subtracted, the amount of emissions permissible for a 2 oC increase is no more than around 30 years' worth of global emissions based on the emissions for 2010. Under these circumstances, the mission of the current generation should therefore be to be as frugal with this limited allowance as possible and, while evolving through the required stage of low-carbon society before this 'emissions budget' is used up (likely 50 to 100 years), also aim to create a zero-emission society for the whole world. The IPCC Working Group III has indicated the feasible emission pathway, namely, one that would reduce current global emissions (40 billion tonnes CO2 equivalent) to half (20 billion) by 2050 (IPCC 2014: Summary for Policymakers. Working group III: Mitigation of Climate Change, p. 11).

If this 20 billion tonne allowance is distributed according to the projected population in 2050 of 10 billion, per capita CO2 emissions are calculated to be about 2 tonnes. However, the reality is that per capita emissions have already topped 17 tonnes in the United States, 9 in Japan, 5.5 in China, 3 in Thailand, 1.6 in Indonesia and 1.4 in India. These figures reveal that almost all of these countries need to draw up policies to reduce GHG emissions. This represents a major transition challenge for developed countries, which were founded on, and at the same time are struggling to be free from lock-in of highly energy-consuming technologies, as they will need to overhaul their social infrastructure to one based on low-carbon society. Conversely, the major challenge for developing countries is their need to discover new, low-carbon development pathways that leapfrog over those utilised by developed countries to date.

12.1.1.2 Scope and Processes of Policy and Scientific Basis

What kinds of policies are needed when confronted with a major transition to a low-carbon world as described above? As energy policy is at the core of GHG emission reduction policy, it goes without saying that controls on energy consumption and a change in the structure of primary energy supply are required. However, policy cannot stop there—transitions are required in all sectors related to consumption and supply, including cities, land use, residential, transport and industry. The various sectors that must be covered by climate policy are indeed wide-ranging.

Formulation of long-term climate mitigation policies is carried out with the GHG emission reduction as an axis following the procedures shown in the middle of the figure below (Fig. 12.2): target setting, policy formulation, policy evaluation, monitoring of implementation results and feedback on the policy overall.

Fig. 12.2 Climate policy sequence and scientific support tools

Reduction targets are often decided a priori, as international agreements of the UNFCCC (e.g. reduction targets of the Kyoto Protocol) or as decisions by top management (e.g. the 26/41 % reductions of former President Yudhoyono of Indonesia). Leading up to these decisions are deliberations on approximate reduction outlooks and setting of rough targets based on such. When the world shifts its gaze in the direction of low-carbon society, as discussed above, the 2 tonne CO2 per capita by 2050 figure will constitute a solid basis for reduction targets.

Subsequently, emission reduction scenarios based on reduction targets are needed. Based on economic growth rates and demographics, the necessary amount of services by sector for continuation of conventional policy (BaU: Business as Usual) and the energy needed to enable these services are calculated. These figures are then cross-referenced with the appropriate primary energy utilising an energy balance table, and then by multiplying GHG emissions per unit of primary energy, the GHG emissions for the entire nation can be calculated. Determining volumes of various activities mainly uses statistical data, and if the amount of energy per unit of activity and the amount of GHG generated per unit of energy are known, GHG emissions can be estimated. In sum, this series of estimations, termed 'inventory computation', is the bedrock for science-based climate policy.

These consolidated inventories as described above are made for each sector. In order to maintain consistency amongst sectors and create an integrated policy scenario, the Integrated Assessment Model (IAM) is indispensable. Included in this model group are the energy technology list and the GHG emission reduction cost curve covering all technologies, allowing for calculation of additional investment amounts for the entirety of reduction policies and overall costs.

A range of measures are available to bring the BaU emissions calculated in this matter closer to the reduction target amount, including regulatory methods such as establishing emission caps by sector and economic methods, including a carbon tax. With the application of such policy instruments, the system of reduction policy is determined (see Fig. 12.2, bottom right). The resulting investment cost in the necessary infrastructure based on the overall reduction plan can be estimated (see Fig. 12.2, top right).

These measures are then evaluated according to their impact on long-term economic growth via CGE (Computable General Equilibrium) modelling, and efforts are made to coordinate them with higher level plans.

Measures to implement policies are entrusted to the parties involved in actual reductions (stakeholders), such as municipal and local governments, industries and citizens. Reduction measures are advanced in respect of actual situations; local governments execute them via city planning and administration, and rural villages do so through forest and land-use plans. Likewise, reform in industrial structure, resource efficiency in manufacturing and distribution in the industrial sector and energy conservation measures for offices and households take place. Measures in civil society include rational consumption—consumption based on maximised utility or benefit of products or services.

The PDCA (plan, do, check and action) assessment cycle is applied to the whole process; results of actions by each stakeholder group are consolidated periodically to undergo MRV (measurement, reporting and verification), whereby feedback is given on reinforcement of measures and changes to plans. Through PDCA, inventories and integrated assessment models used in the early stages of planning are effectively utilised as criteria to determine efficacy.

The above illustrates how substantial the scientific base is required to be for GHG reduction policy development. This base includes GHG inventories, policy formation based on integrated assessment models, economic assessment methods for policy, knowledge on policy formation and infrastructure building at the city level, calculation of resource efficiency by Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methods and analysis of public behaviour. Further, as geographical, economic, resource and political factors vary across the region, so do the required scientific bases; therefore, each and every country needs to create domestic climate policies by fostering domestic research communities in order to realise scientific bases in accordance with domestic environments.

According to IPCC AR5, climate change is already progressing, and its impacts are evident around the world. Some countries have already been affected and have initiated adaptation activities. This makes the need to share scientific knowledge all the more important, not only in terms of mitigation but also adaptation.

 
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