On 27 May, the European Union and Japan announced their intention to form a Green Alliance to accelerate the transition of both economies towards becoming climate-neutral, circular and resource-efficient in the coming decades. The agreement was finalised during the EU-Japan Summit, where the two parties agreed to strengthen cooperation on protecting the environment, conserving biodiversity and fighting climate change.
Welcoming the historic partnership, the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans said "This is the EU’s first Green Alliance. It is a true milestone in our efforts to create a global coalition for net zero by the middle of the century. Japan and the EU will increase their cooperation so that our combined efforts bring us closer to our goal of living up to the commitment made under the Paris agreement. Together Japan and the EU can further increase a global momentum that is gathering pace. If we pull together, net zero can be achieved."
Both the EU and Japan share the aim of becoming climate-neutral by 2050. The Green Alliance will see both sides working together to ensure a successful outcome to COP26, and consensus on a realistic post-2020 global biodiversity framework at COP15.
The five priority areas for the Alliance will be:
pursuing a cost-effective, safe and sustainable energy transition by adopting low-carbon technologies, including renewable energy, renewable hydrogen, energy storage, and carbon capture, utilisation and storage;
strengthening environmental protection by promoting more sustainable, circular practices in production and consumption, and contributing to the global goal of protecting at least 30% of both land and sea in order to conserve biodiversity;
increased regulatory cooperation and business exchange to drive global uptake of low-carbon technologies and environmental solutions that will accelerate the global transition to climate-neutral economies;
consolidating existing collaboration on research and development in the areas of decarbonisation projects, renewable energy, and the bioeconomy;
and maintaining both parties’ leadership on international sustainable finance to help converge on a definition of sustainable investments and ensure consistency and transparency about sustainability-related disclosures
Finally, the two partners agree to work together closely on the international stage to promote cooperation on climate action in developing countries. The partners will work to facilitate the transition to climate-neutral and resilient societies, including through phasing out government support for carbon-intensive fossil fuel energy, promoting international access to renewable energy, the exchange of information on mitigation and adaptation efforts, and support in the deployment of safe and sustainable low-carbon technologies.
This intention to form a Green Alliance is a great step towards global climate neutrality since both the European Union and Japan are among the largest economies in the world and, in terms of both imports and exports, they constitute a grand portion of global trade. Thus, both the direct effect of two big economies transitioning towards green, sustainable, and circular economies and the indirect effect of directing other economies towards this mode of production will help go a long distance in fighting climate crisis. ECOPNET (European Cooperation and Partnership Network) works with its partners to follow the same path as the Union in its Working Groups on Green Deal and Circular Economy and encourages all actors in the EU to adopt the necessary changes.
Source: European Commission Directorate-General for Climate Action Newsroom