About the Event
Resources for the Future and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies convened a one and one-half day workshop on domestic and international climate policy on May 11-12, 2005 in Tokyo, Japan.
The first day included forty-nine participants hearing presentations from thirteen speakers and discussing domestic activities, economics, and politics. The second day included a smaller group of participants listening to a panel of four experts and discussing opportunities for future international climate regimes.
Participants included government officials from the Japanese Ministry of the Environment, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of State, the Deputy Secretary of the Massachussetts Department of Commonwealth Development, representatives from business and environmental groups, and academic experts.
Over the course of both days, it was clear that great opportunities exist for regularly informing experts from both countries on recent policy developments, economic analyses, and political nuance in the other country. For example, U.S. participants had an opportunity to learn the process through which Japanese technology standards were set and implemented, the subtle evolution of mandatory policy discussions, and details of current policies on voluntary trading and an emission registry. Japanese participants benefited from a frank discussion with U.S. experts of how and why it would be difficult to create the linkage of different domestic emissions trading markets, the current process to establish a regional emissions trading program, and the evolving dynamics in the U.S. Senate.
Looking forward, important lessons may be taken from past negotiating experiences. A small group of large emitters and major economies addressing not only climate change but also developmental issues could be a useful vehicle for meaningful international efforts.
Such a small-group process should be carried out in parallel with the multilateral UNFCCC process. In addition, policies in both the U.S. and Japan reflect a strong emphasis on technology development and commercialization; this may be an area where bilateral cooperation could be particularly beneficial.
Presentations from the first four sessions and key questions from the final session's panel discussion are available below.