Japan: Committed to be carbon neutral by 2050

Japan’s new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, has vowed to make Japan carbon neutral by the end of 2050. He insisted that this move will require a big shift in energy policies in the country.

Mr. Suga, declared on Monday to reach a goal to emit zero greenhouse gases overall by 2050. He committed to be carbon neutral by that year.

Mr. Suga said that going green would be a source of growth and not a drag on the economy. His policies have followed suit on the European Union’s goals. It also followed China’s pledge of carbon neutrality by 2060. It has also pledged to put pressure on South Korea to follow the same.

Reliance on fossil fuels

The most important challenge for Japan is its reliance on fossil fuels. This had happened since the Fukushima Nuclear disaster in 2011.

Japan has struggled in maintaining balance in the use of fossil fuels since then.

Mr. Suga did not propose specific policies in his first policy speech. This has raised many questions on how it would reach the goals.

Takashi Hongo, a senior fellow at Mitsui Global Strategic Studies Institute, said, “He was emphasizing a fundamental shift, and that indicates how strongly he feels about the change that needs to be made.”

Increase in fossil fuel

Japan’s primary energy supplies are dependent on fossil fuels. 81% of primary energy supplies are fossil fuels. In fact, in 2017, they rose to 87%. This was done to ensure that all nuclear reactors are kept offline after Fukushima’s happened in 2011.

Non-nuclear renewable energy in Japan rose from seven percent to 11% in the same period. The coal-fired power station that japan has build also works entirely on fossil fuels. These energy resources will emit carbon for decades.

“If Japan and the rest of the world are to avoid the catastrophic effects of the climate crisis, it is precisely this kind of action that the world needs,” said Sam Annesley, executive director of Greenpeace Japan.

The target

Greenpeace has advised Japan to reduce its renewable energy resources by 2030. It should temporarily halt the plans to build coal plants at home and abroad. It should further close down nuclear reactors. And lastly, japan must abandon the idea of importing hydrogen. Hydrogen import will increase fossil fuel dependency on other countries. Hence, it should rather switch to green fuels that would increase green cover and reduce carbon emission.

Covering fertility treatment

The Prime Minister, in his first speech, also ensured that the state would cover fertility treatments.

Image courtesy of Sander van der Werf/Shutterstock

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