With the 19th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change underway, Japan, the world’s fifth-largest greenhouse gas emitter and third-biggest economy, made unwelcome headlines by announcing that its slashing its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reductions target from 25 percent to just 3.8 percent based on 2005 figures.

While countries like Canada and Australia have been dragging their feet at the talks, Japan is considered a world leader in confronting climate change, having hosted the signing of the Kyoto Protocol. But the unexpected announcement will now undoubtedly cast a shadow over the talks, increasing concern about the difficulty of reducing emissions and the feasibility of international negotiations to lead the way to achieving the cuts scientists say are needed.

‘This move by Japan could have a devastating impact on the tone of discussion here in Warsaw,

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