Last December, COP21 negotiators convened in Paris to lay out ambitious goals to combat global climate change. While the Paris Agreement was a remarkable breakthrough, it is the post-Paris agenda that will determine the ultimate success of this international effort. Climate change is a priority item in the U.S.-Japan agenda to globalize their alliance, as underlined in the Obama-Abe joint vision statement of April 2015. As two of the largest emitters in the world, domestic measures to abide by their Paris emission targets will loom large in the abatement of greenhouse gases. The challenge is steep for Japan as it has moved away from nuclear energy in the aftermath of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, while making slow progress in the development of renewables. And new questions have arisen regarding the future implementation of U.S. climate agenda commitments under the incoming Trump administration.
On December 20, the Center for East Asia Policy Studies and the Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate hosted a distinguished panel of climate policy experts from the United States and Japan to address critical issues for the future of the climate agenda and U.S.-Japan relations. What does the nature of the Paris commitments mean for the task of implementation? What kind of domestic transformation is required in each country, e.g., what are the choices to be made in energy policy? And how can Japan and the United States collaborate on innovation efforts to move away from carbon dependent-economies?