Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga set a new interim climate target for the country on Thursday, targeting a 46% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030, compared to 2013 levels. The new goal marks a significant increase from the country’s prior pledge of a 26% reduction.

Suga announced the new target at the Leaders Summit on Climate, hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden, and attended by 40 world leaders, representing 80% of global emissions. The summit of world leaders Was aimed at underscoring the urgency and the economic benefits of stronger climate action, and to act as a key milestone on the road to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November in Glasgow.

Japan’s new climate commitment comes as more countries are forming their own ambitious climate goals. At yesterday’s conference, President Biden announced the U.S.’s new target to reduce emission by 50-52% in 2030, compared to 2005 levels, and earlier this week, the UK released its new Carbon Budget, introducing a new commitment to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035, adding to its recent target of a reduction of 68% by 2030.

The 2030 goals are the centerpieces of the countries’ Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), detailing their obligations under the Paris Agreement on the pathway to net zero emissions by 2050. Japan announced its own 2050 net zero target in October 2020, in Prime Minister Suga’s first policy address to Parliament.

Suga outlined several of the initiatives Japan would take to reach its new goal, including working to maximum the utilization of decarbonized power sources, such as renewable energy, providing incentives aimed at inducing investment by companies, and working with local governments. The country will also focus on efforts to enhance sustainability in the food, agriculture and forestry sectors, and advancing the transition to a circular economy.

Suga said:

“No other time than now, does international society need further solidarity for the realization of a decarbonized society. Japan, as a nation that puts utmost importance on multilateral approaches, is determined to take the lead in solving the challenge of climate change for the whole of humankind, by cooperating with each country and international organizations, looking ahead to COP 26 and beyond.”

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