Japan
Automobile
Manufacturers
Association, Inc.

Issue No. 1, 2008

JAMA promotes integrated approach at Bali climate conference

The UN-sponsored Bali climate conference (COP 13) in December 2007 represented the start of negotiations towards a new global climate change agreement that will replace the Kyoto Protocol as of 2012.  Binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gases, as advocated by the EU, were rejected by the United States and other countries.  Nevertheless, the so-called Bali roadmap indicates that all parties will agree to "measurable, reportable, and verifiable nationally appropriate mitigation commitments or actions".

The EU’s conclusions following the talks were generally positive.  "These were tough negotiations but we have succeeded in agreeing on a roadmap for [further] negotiations that meets the European Union’s demands", said EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.  Dimas acknowledged, however, that the toughest discussions were still to come.

Thousands of government officials, industry lobbyists, environmental campaigners and observers participated in a range of meetings on the sidelines of the summit.  During one such session, Michinori Hachiya, chairman of JAMA’s Global Environment Subcommittee, addressed delegates on "Possible Sectoral Approaches to Road Transport CO2 Reduction" and Japan's efforts to date in that regard.

Mr Hachiya began his presentation by emphasising the need for an integrated "road transport sectoral approach" to CO2 reduction, particularly since, as he stated, the distances travelled by people and goods will continue to increase in tandem with economic growth, in developed and developing countries alike.

Hachiya then noted that, after peaking in 2001, CO2 emissions in Japan’s road transport sector have steadily declined.  This reduction is attributable, he said, to greater fuel efficiency, smoother traffic flow, and an actual decrease in distances travelled through increased efficiency in goods distribution.

A sector-wide integrated approach, he explained, requires not only greater fuel efficiency and traffic flow improvements, but also the supply of alternative fuels and the more efficient use of vehicles, notably through the practice of eco-driving.  He therefore called on all stakeholders concerned—government, the auto industry, fuel suppliers and vehicle users—to take on and carry out "their own share of responsibility" in a framework of mutual cooperation.  The adoption of such an approach, Mr Hachiya argued, can effectively reduce transport-sector CO2 emissions while remaining compatible with economic growth.