Exclusive: Japan pushing to remove zero-emission vehicles target from G7 statement, draft says

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European Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron , Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi attend a working dinner on the first day of the G7 leaders’ summit at Bavaria’s Schloss Elmau castle near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, June 26, 2022. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS

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TOKYO/BRUSSELS, June 27 (Reuters) – Japan is working to remove a zero-emission vehicle target from a G7 communiqué expected this week, according to a proposed draft seen by Reuters, a move that would water down language on climate change from the leaders’ summit in Germany.

The push from Tokyo, an influential member of the wealthy Group of Seven countries, comes as Japan’s auto industry has come under scrutiny from green investors who say it has been slow to adopt zero-emission vehicles and lobbied against regulations that would encourage a faster transition to technology.

Reuters reported last week that the head of Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) had lobbied the Japanese government to clarify that it supports hybrid vehicles as much as zero-emission battery electrics. G7 leaders meet in the Bavarian Alps for a summit where climate change is on the agenda. Read more

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Japan has proposed deleting a reference to a “collective goal of at least 50% zero-emission vehicles by 2030”, according to a draft statement reviewed by Reuters.

In its place, he proposed a less concrete goal of “significantly increasing the sale, share and adoption of zero-emission light-duty vehicles by recognizing the range of paths members are taking to achieve these goals,” according to the report. project.

A person familiar with the matter confirmed that Japan had proposed the changes, declining to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue. It was unclear whether the proposed changes would make it into the final version of the communiqué, which is due out at the end of the summit on Tuesday.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry said it was unable to comment immediately.

THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY WANTS A RANGE OF OPTIONS

Separately, Japan had pushed to scrap the target that all sales of new cars and vans in G7 countries would be “zero-emission vehicles” by 2035, in the statement from climate ministers. G7 at the end of May, according to sources familiar with the discussions and a draft press release seen by Reuters.

Ultimately, the 2035 target was not included in the final declaration, which instead pledged to achieve a “highly decarbonized road sector by 2030” by “significantly increasing” sales of zero vehicles. emission.

Reuters reported last week that the head of Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) had lobbied the Japanese government to support hybrid vehicles, which burn fossil fuels, as much as zero-emission battery electrics. Read more

The Japanese auto industry lobby and major automaker Toyota said automakers should not limit themselves to specific technologies and must retain a range of options to achieve a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Toyota, the world’s largest automaker by sales, said fossil fuels, not internal combustion engines, were the problem. As well as the hybrids it popularized more than two decades ago with the Prius, it also champions hydrogen technology, although this has so far not taken precedence over battery electric cars. .

Energy and climate think tank InfluenceMap ranked Toyota worst among major automakers for its climate policy lobbying record, which includes public statements and interactions with governments.

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Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki in Tokyo and Kate Abnett in Brussels; Additional reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by David Dolan and Alex Richardson

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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