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European Ambassadors underscore need for ambitious action against climate change

EU News 106/2015

21 April 2015

In an effort to highlight the significance of the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) to be held in Paris later this year, six European Ambassadors took part in a seminar at the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Japan on 21 April, where they presented overviews on how the EU was spearheading global efforts to tackle climate change, and how EU climate policies were being implemented on the ground by individual EU Member States.

In his keynote speech, EU Ambassador to Japan Viorel Isticioaia-Budura stressed that climate change is one of the biggest threats facing humankind, and that 2015 will be a defining year for the future of our planet. Pointing to the EU's pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% compared to 1990 in 2030, as well as its target of increasing the share of renewable energy to at least 27% of total EU energy consumption by that time, he also noted that Europe is convinced that climate action is not only good for the environment, but is also economically feasible and a catalyst for new business opportunities.

'The high level of ambition of our new 2030 (energy and climate) package is in our own economic interest', he said.

At the same time, he called on Japan to set an example for other countries in the negotiations toward a new international climate agreement, recalling its political weight as the only Asian nation in the Group of Seven, and the third-largest economy in the world. While recognising the difficult energy challenges Japan faces, he also observed how Japanese industry has the potential to be a world leader in developing green technologies, and called for a renewed sense of ambition on Japan's part.

'Like the EU, Japan needs to play a strong leadership role in the international climate change negotiations,' he said. 'It should not miss the economic opportunities that climate and energy policies offer for the creation of new jobs, and innovation; it could become the ''fourth arrow'' of ''Abenomics'',' he added.

During the seminar, German Ambassador Hans Carl von Werthern, Danish Ambassador A. Carsten Damsgaard, French Ambassador Thierry Dana, Swedish Ambassador Magnus Robach and British Ambassador Tim Hitchens described how their respective countries were implementing Europe's climate policies. This discussion was followed by a second session where representatives of Nissan Motor Corp., Ricoh Co., Unilever Japan and Shell Netherlands explained how their businesses saw efforts to tackle climate change as a chance to explore new business opportunities.

This seminar was co-organised by Delegation of the EU to Japan and EU Member States' embassies in Japan.

Photos by MS, EU, 2015 URL