Ms. Watanabe, joined IGES in April
1998, has LL.M. in Civil Law from the University of
Tokyo, Japan. She was a visiting reseacher at the Environmental
Law Center of IUCN (Bonn, Germany) from February to
September 2003 and at the Wuppertal Institute(Wuppertal,
Germany) from October 2003 to March 2004. At IGES she
works on the comparative analysis of climate policy-making
process between Germany and Japan, Kyoto mechanisms,
post-2012 regime from the legal perspective and compliance
of the Kyoto Protocol.
--- Ms. Watanabe, what was
it that led you to become a researcher?
Looking back now, ever since
I was a child I have often wondered and posed questions about
things in the world that are ordinarily taken for granted.
As I grew older, I realised that there was basically nobody
who could provide me with satisfactory answers. I noticed
that people tend to take things for granted, even when the
reasons behind them are not particularly clear. Looking back
now, the 60s and 70s were quite turbulent decades to live
through. Even though I was a child, I felt constrained by
pre-existing systems and tended to question everything. As
a result, I found that the only thing to do was to find answers
to the questions myself and so began to investigate a variety
of things. It was truly enjoyable when I found answers. What
led me to choose the path of a researcher was the questions
I had about apparently self-evident aspects of real-world
systems, as well as the satisfaction I felt when I found answers
to those questions.
---- Ms. Watanabe, please tell us about the research that
you carry out in the IGES Climate Policy Project.
The comparison of Japanese and German
climate policy processes Watanabe:
One area that I am working on
is the comparison of Japanese and German climate policy processes.
In the Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997, developed nations,
referred to in the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC) as "Annex 1 Parties," committed to
controlling their greenhouse gases emissions with different
numerical targets from 2008 to 2012. Yet, at present there
are very few countries which control their GHG emissions in
line with their targets. Germany is, however, one of these
few successful countries. Nevertheless, some insist that Germany's
achievement in reducing emission quantities is just a result
of the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990 and
the subsequent improvement of energy efficiency at factories
and buildings in the former East German states with relative
the symposium on "Climate Policy 2005 and Beyond",
Ms. Watanabe presented about the emission trading
system in Germany.
A German research institute examined the impact
of reunification on emission reductions in Germany and revealed
that the portion due to improved energy efficiency in the
Eastern states was about 50% and the remaining 50% was due
to climate policies and measures. Since Japan imported a variety
of systems from Germany in its initial stages of modernisation,
there are similarities between Japan and Germany in terms
of institutional systems, relationships between industry and
government and also industrial structure. Specifically, both
are developed nations reliant on heavy industry. Then, the
question arises as to why Germany has somehow been able to
introduce effective policies and Japan has not.
Where do Japan
and Germany differ in policy development?
I am carrying out a comparative analysis
on the policy development in both countries based on the assumption
that differences in such development are the cause of this
discrepancy. If this is true, then there are things that Japan
can learn from this research. It should also be relatively
easy to implement what is learned, thanks to the fundamental
similarities in the structures of both countries. In research
to date, several factors which enabled the introduction of
policies responsible for the latter 50% reduction have been
identified. Such a factor was the change in administration
with the 1998 federal elections, resulting in the Green Party's
participation in the government. There were also external
factors, such as the adoption of an 8% reduction target by
the European Community regarding the Kyoto Protocol and the
impact on German policy of the development of climate policy
at an EU level.
Other studies that I am currently conducting include those
about the Kyoto Mechanisms and the compliance issue of the
Kyoto Mechanisms - An Option Survey
for Japan to acquire credits from abroad
As one aspect of research on
EU climate policy, an option survey regarding Japan's acquisition
of credits from abroad was carried out last year in collaboration
with a German research institute.
Utilisation of the Kyoto Mechanisms
Japan committed to a 6% reduction target
under the Kyoto Protocol. However, according to the Kyoto
Protocol Target Acquirement Plan which was adopted in May
of this year, Japan faces difficulties in achieving this target
due to the employment of domestic policies and measures. 1.6%
of the target is expected to be procured through utilising
the Kyoto mechanisms. The EU member states and their companies
have already embarked on acquiring credits, developing national
purchasing schemes and enabling the use of credits yielded
through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the Joint
Implementation (JI) projects within the EU regional emissions
trading scheme. In contrast, Japan has still not established
a national purchasing scheme or a domestic emissions trading
system. In this project, the five options of the JI, the CDM,
international emissions trading, green investment scheme (or
Green AAUs) and the establishment of domestic emissions trading
system and its linkage with emissions trading schemes in other
countries will be evaluated in respect of five criteria. These
consist of environment integrity, cost (price and transaction
cost), political acceptability, size of potential and long-term
impact. Thus we will have investigated the optimal methods
for Japan to acquire credits from abroad in order to achieve
its target set under the Kyoto Protocol.
Compliance mechanisms and procedures
of the Protocol
After the adoption of the Kyoto
Protocol, its operational details were adopted in the form
of the Bonn Agreement in June 2001 and the Marrakech Accord
in November 2001. One of the most contentious issues at the
adoption of the Bonn and Marrakech agreements was the legal
nature of compliance mechanisms and procedures.
The Kyoto Protocol imposes several commitments on the Parties.
Compliance mechanisms and procedures stipulate consequences
when the Parties do not comply with their commitments. The
legal nature of the consequences (whether legally-binding
or not) was contentious when the Bonn Agreement and the Marrakech
Accord were adopted. Many countries argue that the consequences
should be legally-binding but others argue contrarily.
legally-binding consequences is the key
With the declaration by the United
States to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol in March 2001,
ratification by Japan and Russia was necessary in order for
the Kyoto Protocol to enter into force. The bargaining power
of both countries therefore became prevalent. Since those
two countries continued to insist that legally-binding consequences
should not be included, it was agreed that the legal nature
of non-compliance consequences would be determined at the
meeting of the Parties (MOP) of the Kyoto Protocol, to be
convened after the protocol had been put into effect. This
issue of compliance was one of the most contentious issues
at the COP/MoP1.
In 2002 after the adoption of the Marrakech
Accord, an analysis was conducted regarding what the differences
would be if non-compliance consequences were legally-binding
or not, and why Japan was opposed to the introduction of legally-binding
consequences. A report was issued on this research in 2003.
Based on this, we have recently conducted research regarding
the options that Japan should take at the COP/MoP1 in November/December
2005, as well as an analysis of the impact on the proposal
to revise the decision related to the compliance mechanisms
and procedures submitted by Saudi Arabia in May 2005.
Saudi Arabia's revision proposal specifically poses the question
of the legal nature of consequences. The difference between
legally-binding consequences and non-legally-binding consequences
is whether fulfilling the consequences is a legal obligation
or a political responsibility for the Party in non-compliance.
Naturally, a legal obligation is more serious than a political
responsibility. However, different from national laws, there
is no enforcement system under international law, thus in
practice there is no difference in either case. Nevertheless,
the adoption method of compliance mechanisms and procedures
will differ depending on its legal nature. If it is legally-binding,
it must be adopted in the form of a protocol revision. Such
revisions require a three-quarter majority of the Parties
ratifying the Protocol. In contrast, if it is not legally-
binding, it is adopted as a decision of the MoP.
Will the implementation of the Kyoto Mechanisms be impossible?
In addition, the compliance mechanisms and procedures have
an impact on the use of the Kyoto mechanisms. The executive
branch of the Compliance Committee is responsible for judging
eligibility to use the Kyoto mechanisms. Therefore, if the
compliance mechanisms and procedures are not adopted at the
COP/MoP1, the committee may not be able to be established,
which would influence the implementation of the Kyoto mechanisms.
Japan would like to adopt the compliance mechanisms and procedures
in the context of Kyoto mechanisms as soon as possible, but
without the legislative binding consequences. A solution must
be found in order to deal effectively with these two conflicting
A project designing the future climate
regime from a legal perspective: finding a common understanding
of legal principles stipulated in Article 3 of UNFCCC
Analysis of the two above research
topics is conducted based on policy science. In contrast,
research on this topic is being conducted from a legal perspective.
Are emission reduction
Under the Kyoto Protocol, emission
reduction targets for GHGs were agreed as 6% for Japan, 7%
for the United States, and 8% for the EU for the first commitment
period (2008 - 2012). The targets were agreed as a political
compromise during the negotiations, rather than being based
on reason. For example, the United States had been insisting
on no emission reduction before the Kyoto Conference, but
agreed to a 7% reduction in the end. One of the reasons that
the United States withdrew from the protocol was that it had
committed to a target which would never receive domestic consensus.
Furthermore, as the targets had not been determined logically,
there was no way to persuade the domestic stakeholders. In
Japan, as well, many complained about why a 6% reduction target
was agreed to by the country which had already attained high
Article 3 of the UNFCCC stipulates principles for establishing
various obligations to stabilise the concentration of GHGs.
This project analyses such principles and aims to provide
common understanding so as to give order to the obligations
and targets imposed by post-2012 regime. Although basic principles
must serve as the basis for determining targets and obligations,
Article 3 includes wording that is not clear and may be interpreted
in different ways by each country, such as "common but differentiated
responsibility" or "equity". We are now analysing the interpretation
and implementation of these principles in the major countries,
aiming to draw definitions which can be mutually and clearly
--- What have you enjoyed
in conducting your research?
When I'm starting research, no
matter what it is, I immediately think of questions and hypothesise
their answers. It is a joy to find answers, regardless of
whether or not my hypotheses are correct. My research especially
involves the policy-making process. As part of that, I conduct
interviews with stakeholders who are involved in the policy-making
process. I enjoy getting to know these people and having a
picture of what is happening.
--- In contrast, what are the most challenging and difficult
points in conducting research?
The most difficult thing is to
make real policies that reflect research results. They may
not be immediately implemented because of timing or they are
not always accepted by policy-makers because the research
findings and what the policy-makers are looking for are not
necessarily in accord.
--- In the future, what sort of research are you interested
in doing at IGES?
Through the comparison of climate policy formation
processes between Japan and Germany, I will identify the problems
affecting Japan and provide specific proposals for improvements
with respect to the Japanese policy-making process.
Furthermore, I would like to apply the above research framework
to other cases, particularly in Asia. However, it may be difficult
to apply frameworks designed for analysing developed countries
to the case of developing countries.
I'm also interested in researching the applicability of the
idea of an EU-like regional community in Asia. In the case
of the EU, various member states recognise the merits of forming
a single market. However, it is not clear at present whether
Asian countries, whose economic conditions are diverse, can
find interests around which to create a regional community
like the EU.
--- Finally, what does strategic
research mean to you?
As far as I'm concerned, strategic
research means policy implications based on scientific research.
At IGES, there are discussions as to what constitutes strategic
research. Some say that strategic research is making policy
proposals based on existing research results. However, I believe
that strategic research is the right method for us to employ
and on which to base policy proposals. Originality is born
only out of our own research.