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Eight recommended actions can improve energy efficiency in buildings to unlock a “triple win” and address economic, environmental and social challenges in world’s urban areas

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 11, 2016) — A new policy roadmap from World Resources Institute, Accelerating Building Efficiency: Eight Actions for Urban Leaders, shows how city-level leaders worldwide can overcome barriers to improving building efficiency and reduce energy demand through policy and market action. WRI finds that better energy efficiency in buildings can unlock a “triple win” of economic, environmental and social benefits for cities, and taking action now can avoid locking in decades of inefficiency.

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Trees improve city dwellers' quality of life by reducing smog, preventing erosion, supporting wildlife and sheltering buildings from heat and cold. On International Day of Forests, Sarah Weber looks at how Tokyo, Belfast and Washington, D.C. have integrated trees into their urban landscapes.

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After the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, Japan halted all existing nuclear operations and significantly scaled back its 2020 emissions-reduction target. As Japan revises its energy policy over the next few years, officials will decide the future of the country’s energy mix—and its climate action.

New research reveals that Japan can likely go beyond its emissions-reduction target with existing initiatives, but needs to pursue more ambitious action in the long-term to truly overcome the climate change challenge.

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Since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, Japan has embarked on a major revision of its energy policies.

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Bringing together independent research institutes and civil society groups from key countries around the world to monitor national progress on climate change policy.

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Increased industrialization in Asia has created countless hurdles for communities to protect themselves from pollution. Important government information—such as the amount of pollutants being discharged by nearby factories or results from local air and water quality monitoring—still isn’t readily accessible in user-friendly formats. This practice often leaves the public entirely out of decision-making processes on issues like regulating pollution or expanding industrial factories. In many cases, the public lack the information they need to understand and shield themselves from harmful environmental, social, and health impacts.

This state of affairs recently prompted a group of government officials, NGOs, local community representatives, and academics to demand government action to change the status quo. Last week, representatives from China, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Thailand released the Jakarta Declaration for Strengthening the Right to Environmental Information for People and the Environment. The Declaration urges governments to improve access to information on air and water quality pollution in Asia—and offers a detailed road map on how to do so.

The Declaration stemmed from a meeting organized by WRI’s the Access Initiative and the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law, held last week in Jakarta. Representatives will now bring the list of findings and recommendations to government officials in their home countries and ask for commitments on increasing transparency.

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Developed country governments have repeatedly committed to provide new and additional finance to help developing countries transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient growth.

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