How Big Business Is Hindering Japan’s Climate Efforts | Climate crisis


Japan’s influential trade federation is dominated by the electricity, steel, automobile and fossil fuel industries, a study has found.

Japan’s powerful business lobby, the Keidanren, is dominated by energy-intensive sectors that make up less than 10% of the economy, resulting in national policies that favor coal and hinder attempts to fight change climate, according to a new study.

The influence of the country’s electricity, steel, cement, automotive and fossil fuel sectors is undermining Japan’s attempts to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement, the report says from London-based data analytics company InfluenceMap.

The Keidanren, also known as the Japan Business Federation and which maintains close ties with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, as well as other government agencies, sits on expert groups and other forums where government policies are discussed. He acted as a “central negotiating point” on climate policy for two decades, according to the report.

Although it claims to represent all of Japanese business, the claim “should clearly be questioned on climate/energy policy,” InfluenceMap said. He added that Keidanren’s most powerful industries employ only about 2.7 million people, while those with little influence employ 10 times that number.

Lobbying and consultation with business groups will be essential next year when the government revises its strategic energy plan.

The Keidanren’s influence was evident last year when it argued that a government-proposed target to cut emissions by 80% by 2050 was “extremely ambitious” and pushed for any new goal be a “vision,” InfluenceMap said.

Japan then adopted a goal of achieving carbon neutrality as soon as possible in the second half of this century, rather than an explicit emissions target for 2050.

The Keidanren said in a statement to Reuters that it could not comment on the study because it had not yet officially received a copy. But he added that he had made political commitments to create a low-carbon society and that the government’s climate goals were in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The United Nations-backed Paris Agreement entered into force on November 4, 2016 and aims to keep “a global temperature increase this century well below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial and to continue efforts to limit the temperature”. increase even more to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees F).

Increase in coal consumption

InfluenceMap noted that other groups in Japan that have blue-chip companies from the retail, finance, technology and construction sectors as members – such as the Japan Climate Initiative and the Japan Climate Leaders’ Partnership – strongly criticized the government’s climate change efforts.

The study’s findings are “mostly consistent with my personal experience as a policy maker in Japan negotiating the Kyoto Protocol and crafting national legislation,” Hikaru Kobayashi, who served as deputy minister of health, told Reuters. environment from July 2009 to January 2011.

“What surprises me is that it remains unchanged today.”

Coal use in Japan hit record highs in the years following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster that shut down most of the country’s reactors.

Japan is also the only G7 country working on a major coal power deployment, with companies planning to build around 20 new coal-fired power plants with a total capacity of around 12,000 megawatts, within a decade. , according to a Reuters survey last year.

Coal now generates 32% of Japan’s electricity, although the government wants that proportion to drop to 26% and renewables to climb to 22-24%. by 2030 currently around 18 percent.

Using government statistics, InfluenceMap ranked industry sectors by economic importance and then assessed the influence of industry associations both within Keidanren and outside the federation.

He chose 50 groups for the study, ranking them using two metrics: the degree of a group’s support for climate policies that meet the Paris goals and the intensity with which a group engages with the government on climate policy.


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