Japan has announced that they are looking towards increasing their greenhouse emission reduction targets to at least 40%, a sizable increase from its current 26% level for 2030.
Japans Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga has also set a goal of making Japan carbon neutral by 2050, the government also aims to put its 2030 targets on paper by the G7 Summit in June.
The Japanese Prime Minister will meet with President Biden of the United States on April 16th, and will later attend a virtual summit of 40 leaders on climate change which occurs between the 22nd and 23rd of April.
The EU has also raised its 2030 targets to at least 55% from 40%, meanwhile Britain is still well ahead with a pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 68%.
However, despite the Japanese environmental ministry proposing a 45% cut in carbon emissions, there is pushback from its industrial counterpart which instead argues for a 35% reduction.
This counter-proposal of the industrial ministry is likely an attempt to ensure that the target of reducing carbon emissions does not greatly stifle economic growth.
Reducing carbon emissions typically requires firms to make additional investments into better, more efficient technologies and this causes the operating costs of firms to increase.
This is because firms are forced to allocate more resources towards this technological development, and, because their operating budgets are limited, the production lines are consequently starved of resources.
Therefore, the output of these firms decreases, leading to a reduction in supply and this may have adverse effects on the profits of firms, especially those producing price elastic products.
These climate policies may also enable developing economies that are not implementing carbon reduction policies to develop a comparative advantage over other nations such as Japan which will have adverse effects on the Japanese economy.
However, this may be unlikely to occur as Japan typically specialises in very high skill industries such as vehicle manufacturing and other tech-related commerce.
Nevertheless, the reduction in output from Japanese firms may slow down economic growth as the number of goods produced within Japan will decrease.
However, the positive effects associated with reducing carbon emissions is a trade-off that has to be accounted for when discussing carbon reduction targets.
Poor air quality has adverse effects on economies as health services are put under extra strain. In the UK, 36,000 people die from poor air quality in UK. This results in extra demand for the NHS, which already has insufficient capacity due to its high bed occupancy rates due to supplies being scarce.
This means that if more resources are to be allocated to patients with respiratory problems due to poor air quality, the resources will have to be taken from other areas, resulting in increased waiting times for other patients.
Therefore, a nation with poor air quality will have a more inefficient labour force as workers are more likely to take time off work due to their respiratory problems and long treatment times.
So, any increase in air quality will by reducing carbon emissions alleviates these problems leading to a trade-off between better public health and sacrificing economic growth.
Overall, Japan’s decision to further decrease carbon emissions will have positive effects on its native population as well as the global economy as more developed nations set an example for their developing counterparts.
If you enjoyed this article and love what we are doing please consider showing us further support by following our social media accounts, we also appreciate any feedback as we aim to improve our work.