Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 21:50 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 21:50 | SYDNEY

Japan: Climate rhetoric and reality


Malcolm Cook

2 October 2009 14:07

The parallels between the first months of the Rudd Government and the first weeks of the new Hatoyama Government in Japan extend beyond proposals for new forms of regional architecture.

The new Rudd Government basked in the warm glow of the global media spotlight early on by signing Australia up to the Kyoto Protocol at the UN climate change summit in Bali. Since then, the politics of climate change in Australia have gotten much messier while the global media coverage has faded and the domestic coverage of the tortured path of the CPRS has heated up.

Likewise, the new Japanese Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama, attracted widespread and positive global media coverage for his new Government's public pledge to reduce Japan's greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020 using a 1990 baseline (Japan is already efficient: it is the world's second largest national economy but only the fifth largest emitter).

However, Hatoyama and his new Government is likely to face an even tougher time than their Australian counterparts in turning the initial rhetoric into real climate change policy that has widespread domestic support. The think tank of Japan's main business group, Keidanren, has already questioned the feasibility of the new climate change policy. And Keidanren is not alone.

Photo by Flickr user paulrossman, used under a Creative Commons license.