ARCHIVED Delivering on Climate Targets in Japan and the UK, with Kimiko Hirata and Chris Huhne
Wednesday 20 October 2021
12.00 noon - 1.00pm (BST)
8.00pm - 9.00pm (JST)
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Free – Donations Welcome
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With the Glasgow Climate Change Conference starting on 31 October, Japan Society chairman Bill Emmott is joined by activist Kimiko Hirata and energy and climate consultant Christopher Huhne to examine the ambitions and actions of the Japanese and UK governments.
Both countries have committed to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and have recently submitted or proposed improved targets for their 2030 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). However, while the UK’s strengthened 2030 target of a 68% reduction below 1990 levels is in line with its 2050 net-zero target, there are concerns that current policies are insufficient to achieve this. At 46%, Japan’s 2030 proposed NDCs remain at below 50%, although this is a significant improvement of its previous target of 26%. Most concerning for many is the continued reliance on coal for 19% of its 2030 energy mix.
It remains to be seen how many countries will submit their revised NDCs ahead of COP26 and how robust these plans will be. Are policy makers in Japan and the UK prepared to take decisive action? Is developing the green economy more than ‘some expensive politically correct green act’? What does ‘building back better’ mean?
Kimiko Hirata is the international director and founding member of the Kiko Network, a Japanese NGO dedicated to halting climate change. She is a 2021 Goldman Environmental Prize Recipient. Kimiko became a climate activist in the 1990s and quit her job at a publishing house to join the environmental movement. In 1997, she participated in the Kyoto Climate Summit, at which she supported Japanese civil society through advocacy and media engagement.
Facing a new coal power plant boom following the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster, Kimiko Hirata launched a sophisticated, multi-pronged, national anti-coal campaign, which culminated in the cancellation of 17 planned coal plants. She is now also a visiting associate professor of the Chiba University of Commerce, which has Japan’s first 100% renewable university initiative.
Christopher Huhne has spent the last ten years concerned with energy and climate change policy as adviser, minister, shadow minister, and negotiator at national and international level. He was the Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary and MP for Eastleigh before the 2010 general election. After the formation of the coalition government he became energy and climate change secretary. Prior to entering politics Chris was an award-winning economic and financial journalist for the Guardian and Independent and later spent 5 years as a City economist.
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