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A Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) Partner since 2012, Japan has cemented its role as a global leader in advocating for short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) reductions, particularly when it comes to pursuing energy efficiency as a key strategy for combatting these lethal super pollutants. A significant part of this work is Japan’s dedication to the lifecycle management of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which demonstrates the country’s strategic commitment to our current and future climate, as well as clean air.
This leadership is crucial given that HFCs are a group of industrial chemicals used primarily for cooling and refrigeration. As short-lived climate pollutants, they are many times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the planet and proliferate around the world as the demand for cooling increases. With their consumption expected to double by 2030, they are among the fastest growing greenhouse gases.
Japan has stronger regulations on HFCs than most other countries in the world. Along with France and Nigeria, Japan launched CCAC’s Efficient Cooling Initiative in order to mobilize high level political support for action around the world Japan was also a leader in the Biarritz Pledge for Fast Action on Efficient Cooling that was formed by several countries attending the G7 meeting in Biarritz, France in 2019.
With a network of strong legislation, Japan has focused on the entire lifecycle of HFCs—from the time cooling equipment is built, over the entirety of their use, and then finally in ensuring that they are disposed of and recycled properly. This is crucial because while the Montreal Protocol, through the Kigali Amendment, tackles upstream emissions by phasing out HFCs, there has often been a management gap when it comes to the everyday use, repair and destruction or abandonment of cooling equipment in landfills. Japan is tackling this gap head on with the Initiative on Fluorocarbon Lifecycle Management, launched in 2019 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 25).
This is an international effort to properly recover, dispose of and recycle fluorocarbons in partnership with countries such as France, Chile, Singapore and international organizations like the World Bank as well as entities from the private sector. Japan’s work on this topic has been longstanding, and includes the establishment of the Fluorocarbon Recovery and Destruction Law (now Act on Rational Use and Proper Management of Fluorocarbons) in 2001 and its revision in 2019, which aims to regulate emission control over the entire life cycle of fluorocarbons. Japan isn’t just making sure this happens domestically, but is committed to nations around the world having the resources to do the same.
Japan is also committed to tackling other short-lived climate pollutants, demonstrated in its 2016 Plan for Global Warming Countermeasures which sets 2030 reduction targets for both methane and HFCs. The countryis further working to reduce methane emissions from rice paddy fields by promoting lower emission agricultural practices, including shifting from the use of rice straw as mulch to composting. Japan is carrying out this work both at home and abroad, including the bilateral funding Japan provides to help Vietnam implement this work along the Mekong Delta.
Japan leads the world in the percentage of waste utilised in waste-to-energy facilities, burning an impressive 74.2 percent of its municipal solid waste in energy recovery systems. It operates more than 380 waste-to-energy plants domestically and is looking to export its expertise to other countries. It is already pursuing agreements to construct plants in Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The Japanese private sector is also tackling food waste in innovative and cutting-edge ways, including using Artificial Intelligence on production lines to reduce the amount of food that never reaches consumers. Furthermore, Japan’s support to the CCAC Trust Fund has helped cities and countries across Asia to develop municipal solid waste plans to reduce SLCPs.
In the Transport sector, the allowable maximum desired value for emissions from vehicles prescribed by the Minister of the Environment, and based on the Air Pollution Control Act, have been continuously tightened over the years, with a focus on high-emitting heavy-duty trucks and buses. All new diesel vehicles are now equipped with diesel particulate filters.
On 3 September, 2020, Japan held the Online Ministerial Meeting on the Platform for Redesign 2020 to share experiences and views on climate actions and environmental protection measures as part of the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The meeting was chaired by Japan’s Minister of the Environment, Shinjiro Koizumi, with full support from the UNFCCC Secretariat. A total of 96 countries, including presidencies of COP25, COP26, and Pre-COP26, joined the meeting . The website “Platform for Redesign 2020” also launched a Green Recovery platform to spur a global greening of the post-coronavirus economic recovery in order to build back better. Japan recognizes that, like a global pandemic, the battle against air pollution and climate change cannot be fought in isolation. The country is committed to solidarity with the rest of the world and is dedicated to the ongoing work of strengthening global cooperation and partnership to build a better future.
More examples of Japan's work are highlighted below.
Heating and Cooling
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