Japan under fire for refusing to improve its emission reduction targets


Coal in a Japanese port awaiting transportation. Photo credit: Bloomberg / Getty Images.

By Anders Lorenzen

Japan continues to fall behind in efforts to tackle the climate crisis and has not been tempted to follow in the footsteps of other large economies in setting tough emission reduction targets.

In its updated emissions plan, the country has maintained its 2030 carbon emissions target of cutting emissions by 26% from 2013 levels as part of submitting their Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the UN which all countries must submit ahead of the upcoming COP26 meeting which due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has now been postponed.  

Despite the INDC being voluntary, due to the severity of the climate crisis and in line with what climate science demands, the UN has strongly urged heavy emitters such as Japan to drastically increase their emission reduction targets.

A Japanese government statement read that the country: “will pursue further efforts both in the medium-term and long-term, to reduce … emissions beyond this level.”

Many European countries have committed to cut emissions to net-zero by 2050, Japan is the only G7 country still constructing new coal-fired power plants – which are the highest source of emissions in the energy sector.

Businesses are starting to pressure Japan to do more to cut emissions. Earlier this year, investors managing $37 trillion worth of assets urged the country to slash its carbon emissions. They say that a strong signal from Tokyo could help international climate action ahead of COP26. Additionally, the Governor of the Bank of Japan Haruhiko Kuroda told the World Economic Forum in Davos that Japan should do more to cut emissions and mitigate the risks climate change poses.

Japan has seen a drastic increase in the use of coal power after they decided to dramatically scale back nuclear power capacity following the Fukushima nuclear accident.


Categories: COP26, emissions, Japan

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