Photo/IllutrationEnvironment Minister Shinichiro Koizumi answers questions from reporters after the closing of the COP25 climate change conference in Madrid on Dec. 15. (Ichiro Matsuo)

  • Photo/Illustraion

MADRID--The U.N. climate conference here opened with an uproar over Japan’s coal addiction and ended without an agreement on carbon market emissions.

Despite this, Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi told reporters on Dec. 15 he felt he succeeded in conveying Japan's message that it is serious about tackling global warming.

Koizumi delivered a speech outlining the Japanese government's position at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) on Dec. 11.

But Koizumi's first appearance at the conference was overshadowed by Tokyo winning yet another unflattering “Fossil of the Day” award.

The Climate Action Network (CAN), composed of more than 900 nongovernmental environmental organizations from more than 100 countries, has bestowed the dubious honor on Japan several times in the past, reserved for those who stand out for their inaction on battling climate change.

CAN denounced Japan for showing no resolve to phase out coal-fired power generation or raising its numerical target for reducing gases blamed on global warming.

Japan was awarded the first “Fossil of the Day” at the two-week conference that began on Dec. 2, after industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said the Japanese government will keep open the option of developing coal mines and fossil-fuel power plants.

Koizumi told the media he will accelerate coordination within the government to set an emissions-reduction target for Japan.

COP25 member countries are expected to submit new targets next year.

Koizumi energetically negotiated setting rules for envisioned carbon market mechanisms that include emissions trading, which allows countries that have difficulty meeting emissions targets the right to buy credits to emit more from countries that have low emissions.

Though Koizumi held 36 one-on-one meetings with representatives of 12 countries, the European Union and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, no consensus emerged on rules for the mechanisms.

Koizumi said his discussions with the leaders were beneficial and will help him next year in Britain when the mechanisms are taken up again at COP26.

“I was able to deepen my relationships with ministers from many countries during the conference,” he said. “I am convinced that I will be able to utilize this experience in the future.”