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Japan Pledges Major Greenhouse Gas Emissions Cut at Climate Summit
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced his country would cut 46 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, an ambitious move, in the lead up to a climate summit featuring world leaders.
The event was organized by United States’President Joe Biden as his first major international meeting of leaders as leader, held online on April 22 and 23, 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Forty leaders appeared at the event, including 12 from Asia.
Biden’s summit aimed to feature the biggest emitters of greenhouse gas, in some cases at the exclusion of smaller island nations that face a greater threat from climate change than other countries. One such place is Fiji, which wasn’t invited despite facing great challenges from changing temperatures.
The event was also significant as it marked the return of the United States to global efforts to curb rising temperatures, after former President Donald Trump took the nation out of efforts during his presidency.
To that end, Biden announced the U.S. would aim to cut its emission levels by over 50 percent by 2030, the most ambitious climate goal the country, which is consistently one of the greatest global emitters of greenhouse gas, has ever proposed.
Biden also underlined how no single country could turn the situation around alone.
“America represents less than 15 percent of the world’s emissions,” he said. “No nation can solve this crisis on their own, as I know you all fully understand. All of us — and particularly those of us who represent the world’s largest economies — we have to step up.”
Many countries did just that at the summit, announcing new goals at lowering the amount of greenhouse gasses they put out into the world. Nations such as Brazil, Canada and India among others promised pushes to bring their numbers down, reflecting a rising awareness of how important it is for countries to do what they can to combat climate change.
Japan was among the nations making huge declarations of intent. Suga’s new aim for the country’s emissions came a week after the prime minister met with Biden in Washington D.C.
Alongside the government, many Japanese companies have recently announced plans to do more to help the environment. Toyota, following criticism from shareholders in recent weeks leading up to the summit, will review their policies, while business powerhouses such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nippon Steel have already announced plans to reduce emissions or go carbon neutral.
Climate change has become more of a prominent issue in Japan over the last few years, with the government and business sector now making a concentrated effort to help Japan become a world leader in preventing global warming.
Key Words and Expressions
- greenhouse gas emissions — emissions of various gases such as carbon dioxide that causes climate change
- curb rising temperatures — to control the temperature
- turn a situation around — to change or improve the status quo
- crisis — an extremely difficult or dangerous time or state
- bring numbers down — to decrease the amount or numbers of something
- combat climate change — to cope with global climate crisis
- help the environment — to protect and improve the environment
- reduce emissions — to decrease the amount of gas, heat, light etc. that is being sent out
- go carbon neutral — having a balance between the carbon released into the atmosphere and the carbon removed from the atmosphere
- prevent global warming — to avoid rise in temperature
Reading Comprehension Test
- How many leaders appeared at Biden’s climate summit?
- Which of the following countries did not announce plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions?
- Which of the following isn’t a reason Biden’s climate summit was a big story?
a. It was President Biden’s first major international event with other world leaders.
b. It signaled the United States return to combating climate change.
c. It saw many companies announce their plan to change how they operate.
d. Many countries revealed new targets at reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
- What did Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announce before the climate summit?
- Why did Toyota decide to review their policies?