Why Japan is the 'real world' model for climate policy

08 July 2009


As the world's leaders prepare to meet later this week at the G8 Summit in Italy, a new report argues that climate policy needs to focus on improving energy efficiency and decarbonising the energy supply, as opposed to setting more emissions targets.

"How to Get Climate Policy back on Course" is a joint publication by the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society at the University of Oxford and the London School of Economics and Political Science's Mackinder Programme. The report criticises emissions targets such as the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, the UK Climate Change Act and the recent US Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, claiming that these policies have clearly failed to make a significant impact.

Instead, the report argues that the world ought to be looking towards the recent Japanese 'Mamizu' climate strategy, which rejects carbon trading schemes, focusing instead on producing more renewable energy – primarily solar and hydropower – and on improving the energy efficiency of household appliances, rejecting carbon credit trading.

Professor Steve Rayner, Director of InSIS at the University of Oxford, said: "The world has centuries of experience in decarbonising its energy supply and Japan has led the world in policy-driven improvements in energy efficiency. These are the models to which we ought to be looking."

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