"Climate Change Action Plan" Programs
These programs aim to encourage businesses to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by making it mandatory for businesses with facilities (factories, buildings, etc.) that emit more than a certain amount of GHGs to formulate Climate Change Action Plans and submit them to the local government. In their plans, businesses are required to provide an outline of their business establishments and disclose their emission reduction measures and targets as well as current amounts of GHG emissions. They are also required to submit progress reports based on their plans each year until a certain target year.
Their performance of obligations to reduce emissions is evaluated based on the measures they take and on progress toward their targets. Where necessary, businesses will receive advice and guidance from the local government. By encouraging cooperation among business management, tenants, and other players in the development of initiatives to reduce emissions, these programs are expected to facilitate smoother implementation of measures to cut GHG emissions. In addition, to publicly recognize the efforts of exemplary businesses and thereby promote ever-higher standards, the government announces the reductions achieved and results of evaluations. Only a limited number of local governments (Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, etc.) are currently implementing such programs, but many others are considering changes to their existing programs or planning to introduce similar ones.
Tokyo Metropolitan Government
For this program, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) targets businesses that use 1,500 kiloliters or more per year of fuel, heat, or electricity (total energy usage in crude oil equivalent). Businesses must calculate their baseline GHG emissions, establish an organizational structure to implement measures against climate change, adopt “basic measures” stipulated by guidelines from the TMG as well as more proactive “target measures,” and then submit written plans indicating their emission reduction targets. Over a period of six years, the businesses receive regular guidance and advice from the TMG, and are ranked in one of five categories (from AAA to C) based on progress with initiatives and on the net emission reduction ratio; businesses with superior performance are awarded by the Governor of Tokyo. This program is premised on the voluntary efforts of businesses. Aware that it would be challenging to achieve large emission reductions, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government took an innovative approach by launching an emission trading system for large business establishments in April 2009. The TMG says that this system will enable large reductions in total emissions, because besides their own emission reductions, businesses can fulfill their emission reduction obligations in a complementary way by acquiring the emission reductions of other large or small and medium business establishments.
Nagoya City (Aichi Prefecture)
Aiming to reduce CO2 emissions by 10% from 1990 levels by 2010, Nagoya City adopted a system requiring businesses to submit “Climate Change Action Plans.” The system requires businesses using a total of 800 kiloliters per year of fuel, heat and electricity (crude oil equivalent) to prepare and submit “Climate Change Action Plans” and “Climate Change Action Reports of Achievement,” and also to disclose them to the public. In the plans, businesses must declare their GHG emissions and their reduction efforts, and with reports to be submitted after the end of the three-year plans, they must describe their implementation and achievement of targets, and release the results publicly for 90 days. The mayor of Nagoya is empowered to issue warnings to any business that fails to submit plans or publish results. To promote public-private cooperation and what it refers to as “energy conservation communication,” the city dispatches Energy Conservation Officers and Energy Conservation Advisors to visit target businesses, to check on the progress of initiatives and equipment controls, to share information, and to provide advice.