As Minister of the Environment of Japan, I have been busy attending various kinds of meetings of COP 24 held in Katowice, Poland. Those meetings include ministerial-level conferences, bilateral meetings with individual countries, interviews with mass media reporters, and informal meetings with groups and individuals. Particularly, I have fully been involved in the discussions among members of the Japanese government’s negotiation team consisting of officials of the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This heavy schedule has kept me in a good health.
On December 12 (local time in Poland), I delivered the Japanese government’s statement for the resolutions of COP 24. I announced the statement in English, and I believe it was fairly accepted by the audience as I prepared it adequately. Strangely enough, while speaking to the audience on the stage, which was just about five to six minutes, I was reminded of the time when I had become a politician for the first time in my life.
This COP 24 aims to establish the implementation guidelines (or the so-called ‘rulebook’) on the goals of the Paris Agreement, which were adopted at COP21 in 2015 and became effective in 2016, in order to take more concrete measures for their effective implementation. While many parties to the UNFCCC have already started their own environmental policies by themselves, at COP 24, all the parties are expected to aim at further common goals in the international perspective. It is because under the current environment in the world where the threat of climate change and global warming is cautioned, and natural disasters are frequently occurring, no one denies the necessity of the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions including CO2. After I came here, to Katowice, Poland, I have noticed that the role of COP24 is much greater than I expected.
Almost 200 parties and about 33,000 peoples have participated in COP 24. A huge building equipped with special facilities is used as the main assembly center of COP 24. It is crowded with many people of different countries from early in the morning till late at night.
Hard negotiations among the parties participating in COP 24 will probably continue until December 15. I will make every effort and take an initiative to take concrete actions based on Japan’s statement in order to prevent the global warming.