Japan counts on the Asian market to switch to green energy

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TOKYO (AP) — Japan is focusing on its Asian neighbors as it hopes to play a leadership role in growing efforts to cut emissions, after earmarking $10 billion to help the region accelerate the transition from fuels fossils.

The Ministry of Economy and Industry on Monday hosted the first meeting of the “Asia Green Growth Partnership”, bringing together more than 20 nations, including Thailand and India, as well as the United States, l Australia and the Middle East countries.

“There are a variety of energy transition trajectories in each country. The most effective is to make efforts according to the economic, social and energy situation and technological capabilities of each country,” said Hiroshi Kajiyama, the outgoing minister, as the cabinet reshuffle takes place around the same time as the meeting. .

He stressed the importance of different options, “such as nuclear, hydrogen and ammonia, to promote energy transitions in a realistic way”.

The meeting was held online due to COVID-19 restrictions. Japan hopes it will be an annual gathering, with the aim of helping nations meet the Paris agreement on climate change. The Paris Agreement aims to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100.

A ministry official told The Associated Press that efforts to onboard Asia help Japan’s energy transition in the long term, as it would mean a bigger market in this sector, which Japan considers essential. Asian nations will be free to develop their own solutions, he said, speaking on the usual condition of anonymity.

The minister’s statement that there is no “one-size-fits-all path to carbon neutrality” echoes the views of the Paris-based International Energy Agency, which also took part in Monday’s meeting.

China was invited but did not participate, citing recent national holidays.

Japan has one of the highest per capita emissions in the world, although experts say it has the potential to switch to renewable energy due to its natural environment and technological prowess.

Japan remains more than 80% dependent on fossil fuels but ranks third in the world in terms of solar power generation capacity after China and the United States, according to IEA data.

Experts warn that the world continues to warm, despite various countries’ emissions targets. Last year, Japan pledged to become carbon neutral, reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Resource-poor Japan includes nuclear power in its energy mix plans, although some nuclear power plants remain offline after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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