• Aditya Das

Japan pledges to become carbon neutral by 2050

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

Godhasri Krishnan

October 27, 2020

PM Suga delivered first policy speech in Tokyo on October 26th. He believes that assertive measures against climate change will help bring about industrial structure in the economy which in turn will bring about “great growth”.

Japan PM Suga delivers the first policy speech in Tokyo on Oct 26th 2020.

(Source : theguardian.com)

Japan PM Yoshide Suga, firmed up climate change commitments in his first policy addressal by announcing the deadline for the third largest economy to become carbon neutral by 2050 in Tokyo on Oct 26th 2020, according to The Guardian.

A report by The Guardian claims that the newly elected PM said, “Responding to climate change is no longer a constraint on economic growth”.

“We need to change our thinking to the view that taking assertive measures against climate change will lead to changes in industrial structure and the economy that will bring about growth” he added.

Japan being the fifth largest emitter of carbon-dioxide has struggled to cut emissions since the Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown in 2011 which forced the closure of dozens of nuclear reactors.

A report by The Washington Post states that PM Suga believes that innovation is key to achieving the goal thus, he intends to speed up research and development on technologies like next-generation solar batteries and carbon recycling, as well as deregulation and ‘green investment’. Japan's previous commitments plan to reduce only 80% emissions by 2050 and achieve carbon neutrality in the latter half of the century.

However, the current policy shift brings it in line with the climate change goals of the European Union (EU) which set a similar target last year. Japan strives to increase the share of renewables to 22-24% by 2030 and nuclear power to around 20-22%.

Arguing that the Fukushima disaster leaves no place for nuclear energy in a green and sustainable future, the executive director of Greenpeace Japan, Sam Annesley said that Japan should avail 50% of its electricity via renewable sources by 2030. The Washington Post quoted him saying “Anything less than 50 percent and Japan risks falling short of net zero and more importantly, risks driving the world above 1.5 degrees as per the Paris agreement”, while referring to the 2016 global pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change.

The economy minister Hiroshi Kajiyama also commented that the target would not be easy to meet. The Washington Post quoted him as saying, "we will work with the business world so that a Virtuous cycle with the economy can be created" after Suga's speech at a news conference.

In the same statement, Kajiyama is also reported to have said that the government sees potential in offshore wind-power and Hydrogen that can be tapped into, as a new source of energy, according to The Washington Post.

Sources: (The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Hindu)

Edited by Shreya Gupta and Aditya Das

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