The Domestic Politics of Global Climate Change

The Domestic Politics of Global Climate Change

Key Actors in International Climate Cooperation

New Horizons in Environmental Politics series

Edited by Guri Bang, Arild Underdal and Steinar Andresen

Why are some countries more willing and able than others to engage in climate change mitigation? The Domestic Politics of Global Climate Change compiles insights from experts in comparative politics and international relations to describe and explain climate policy trajectories of seven key actors: Brazil, China, the European Union, India, Japan, Russia, and the United States. Using a common conceptual framework, the authors find that ambitious climate policy change is limited by stable material parameters and that governmental supply of mitigation policies meet (or even exceed) societal demand in most cases. Given the important roles that the seven actors play in addressing global climate change, the book’s in-depth comparative analysis will help readers assess the prospects for a new and more effective international climate agreement for 2020 and beyond.

Chapter 6: Japan’s climate policy: post-Fukushima and beyond

Masahiko Iguchi, Alexandru Luta and Steinar Andresen

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, international politics


Japan’s climate policy has experienced significant changes in recent years. Frequent shifts of governments helped bring about various emission reduction pledges. However, only the brief Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) rule had a truly ambitious policy, but its most ambitious parts were never implemented. A major reason was the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, which altered the priorities of Japanese politics. As a result the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in 2013 proposed a very modest target, in comparison to other states as well as to previous pledges. However, it should be borne in mind that the costs of reducing emissions in Japan are particularly high because of its high energy efficiency score. Japan has relied primarily on voluntary policies, some of which have been quite effective. Still, the actors demanding a more forceful climate policy are weak and dispersed, whereas the supply-side veto players are strong and concentrated. There are few indications that this is about to change in the near future. Renewable energy cannot expand quickly enough to make up for the shortfall from nuclear power. Thus, if emissions are to be reduced, nuclear power will probably play a more important role than will renewable energy.

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