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Japan Lags G7 on Fossil Fuel Pledges

Friday July 1, 2022. 03:46 AM , from Akihabara News
Akihabara News (Tokyo) — After much pressure from environmental organizations and international criticism, the Japanese government finally promised on May 27 to eliminate direct public financing for fossil fuel plants abroad, especially coal, but this does not mean the nation is now near the forefront of tackling the climate crisis.

Japan’s promise came in the context of a G7 meeting of climate, energy, and environment ministers who met in Berlin to discuss the issues.

The government followed up with practical action on June 22 with an announcement that it was pulling financing for coal-fired Indramayu plant in Indonesia and the Matarbari plant in Bangladesh.

Environmentalists point out, however, that no target date for domestic coal phaseouts was provided by the G7 ministers, including Japan’s representatives, casting doubt on the seriousness of their commitment.

Under the current Strategic Energy Plan, published in October 2021, Japan intends to utilize coal for 19% of its domestic energy at the end of this decade.

The G7 ministers also pledged to “predominantly” decarbonize their power sectors by 2035–a crucial means to maintain Paris Agreement goals, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Nevertheless, as pointed out in a recent briefing for journalists by Dave Jones, Global Programme Lead at Ember, a global energy think tank, even the term “predominantly” provides nations with substantial wiggle room to avoid precise commitments.

While the IEA views the term “predominantly” as indicating the use of about 98% clean energy, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has stated that its own interpretation of the term means anything more than 50%.

This suggests that in spite of the G7 ministers’ show of unity, Japan’s climate pledges remain far behind that of other advanced economies.

According to the current national plans, Japan intends to use fossil fuels for about 42% of its energy mix in 2030.

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