Photo/IllutrationPatricia Flor, Ambassador of the European Union to Japan (Provided by the Delegation of the European Union to Japan)

The summer of 2018 will be remembered around the world for the extreme weather events that have robbed people of their homes, livelihoods and in worst cases, their lives.

Neither Europe nor Japan has been immune, experiencing heatwaves, violent storms and typhoons and forest/mountain fires of an unprecedented scale.

The stark reality is that climate change is now on our doorstep, and that climate action requires everyone to put their nose to the grindstone knowing that lives are at stake.

The European Union (EU) and Japan are well aware of the urgency to act, and both have confirmed their unconditional commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement. Furthermore, in the two landmark bilateral agreements signed in July--the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA)--we put to paper our resolve to work together to tackle climate change.

One very concrete and pressing objective where we can and should work together is to ensure that a "rulebook" for the Paris Agreement is adopted at the next U.N. climate conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland, in December. These rules will allow us to track and demonstrate the progress being made under the agreement and give all countries a shared framework to deliver on the pact's objectives.

The EU is at the forefront of the fight against climate change. We are currently finalizing our legislative framework to achieve our target of cutting domestic greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. We encourage Japan to swiftly pursue ongoing work with policies allowing for economic growth while reducing emissions.

This fight must be fought on all levels, not only by central governments, but also on a regional level and through city to city cooperation.

Japan will be in the international spotlight next year as it assumes the presidency of the G-20, and in 2020 as Tokyo hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Both will provide ample opportunities to present the latest innovations and efforts on the environment, not only by the government, but also the private sector and civil society.

There are challenges to be overcome, not the least because the emission reduction targets put forward by countries will not be enough to reach the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

Japan can use these occasions to take the lead in finding a way forward, and the EU is ready to support Japan in bringing the international community together. While a decisive response is required from all parties, the major economies, in particular, must step up to the plate, given that they together account for some 80 percent of global emissions.

The EU and Japan have a good framework in the two new partnership agreements to share experiences and lessons learned on the transformation to climate-resilient growth and a low-carbon economy.

The natural disasters we witnessed these past months underline the need for us to act--real lives depend on it.