Carbon markets and climate justice
In October 2021, Friend of the Earth (FoE) Japan published the Japanese translation of the report “Chasing Carbon Unicorns: The Deception of Carbon Markets and ‘Net Zero.’”
In recent years we have seen the terms “carbon neutral,” “zero emissions,” “virtually zero,” and “net zero” used more and more in various situations. However, the report cautions us that these terms are in fact used to distract attention from the undeniable and urgent need to eliminate emissions from fossil fuels.
The report unpacks net-zero strategies of large emitters, as it analyzes and explains: what is fundamentally wrong with the net-zero concept, concerns raised by carbon markets and nature-based solutions embedded in these strategies, and large emitting companies’ plans to scale up carbon markets. And the report provides a roadmap for achieving climate justice without relying on carbon offsetting or carbon markets.
We translated the report under the supervision of FoE Japan.
Capture ever-evolving language
New terminology related to climate change are constantly emerging, and their translations also change over time. For example, “climate justice” could be translated to “kiko-no-kouheisei (‘equity concerning climate’ in Japanese)” or to “kiko-seigi (‘justice concerning climate’ in Japanese).” However, the latter, “kiko-seigi,” has now become the mainstream.
This can be seen as a reflection of the growing societal awareness that the climate issue is a global human rights issue, as those least responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions — developing countries living in poverty, marginalized communities and future generations — suffer the most from climate crisis.
Taking into account such social trends, our translators team revised the translations of important terms, and worked to ensure consistency of the terminology in the entire report.
The translated document caught Japanese media’s attention
The Japanese version of the report was published before COP26 in Glasgow, UK, and was introduced to the Japanese press. As a result, a Japanese journalist Masato Kimura wrote an article about the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) based on the report and interview with Yuri Onodera, Advisor at FoE Japan. The article says that we must keep a close eye on the financial assets of more than ten quadrillion yen held by the Financial Alliance to be used to reduce emissions through shifting to renewables, not through carbon offsetting schemes that colonize developing countries.
The Demands for Real Zero on the last page of the report refer not only to transforming our energy system, but also to advocating the rights of Indigenous Peoples, small farmers and local communities, and to the transition towards a new economics for people and planet. We strongly hope that this report will reach to those many people who wish to solve climate problems and are working towards a climate-just world.
Press release: Japanese translation of the report “Chasing Carbon Unicorns: The deception of carbon markets and ‘net zero’” (FoE Japan, 25 October, 2021)
Press release: Chasing Carbon Unicorns: The deception of carbon markets and “net zero” (FoE International, 22 February, 2021)
Financial Assets of Financial Alliance For Net Zero Reach 14.8 Quadrillion Yen, London Declares Net-Zero Financial Market (Newsweek Japan, Nov. 4, 2021, in Japanese)