Japan has once again found itself sidelined in preliminary talks among the Group of Seven countries on energy issues related to climate change.
A draft joint statement drawn up at a meeting in Germany of ministers responsible for environment and energy issues, to be published at the end of May, calls for the elimination of domestic coal-fired power plants by 2030 as a step to limit the global warming.
“It will be almost impossible for Japan to accept this, especially since its energy security environment has become much more severe,” said a senior economy ministry official, alluding to a recent price spike. oil and natural gas. after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
German officials presented the project at a preparatory meeting earlier this month in Berlin that called for the gradual closure of coal-fired power plants by 2030, according to government sources.
Coal-fired power plants accounted for approximately 31% of total electricity generated in Japan in fiscal 2020. Japanit is The reliance on coal-fired power plants stems from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 which shattered the widely held belief that nuclear power is 100% safe. At the same time, Japan has been slow to embrace renewable energy sources.
Coal-fired power plants are the biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions, seen by environmental movements as an affront to pledges by many countries, including Japan, to reduce their carbon footprint to zero by 2050.
According to Japan’s basic energy plan approved in 2021, coal-fired power plants will still account for 19% of all electricity generated in Japan in fiscal year 2030.
International organizations have also pushed to phase out coal-fired power plants as a matter of urgency to deal with global warming.
Earlier this month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a report that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 2025 if the increase in average global temperature since before the industrial revolution must be kept at 1.5 degrees.
Last year, the International Energy Agency also released its own scenario for carbon-free power generation in 2050, which calls on advanced countries to phase out coal-fired power plants not equipped with the technology to reduce emissions. carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.
The wording of the joint statement released last year by a G-7 meeting of environment and energy ministers dampened calls to phase out all coal-fired power plants by 2030, mainly by due to Japanese opposition.
European countries remain committed to shutting down all their coal-fired power plants by 2030, despite energy shortages triggered by the Ukraine crisis.
The final wording of the joint statement for this year remains secret.
(This article was written by Shinichi Sekine and Junichiro Nagasaki.)