Japan lags behind G7 on fossil fuel commitments


Akihabara News (Tokyo) – After much pressure from environmental organizations and international critics, the Japanese government finally promised on May 27 to eliminate direct public funding of overseas fossil fuel power plants, especially coal, but it does not mean that the nation is now at the forefront. to tackle the climate crisis.

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

The government followed up with practical actions on June 22 by announcing that it was withdrawing funding for the Indramayu coal-fired power plant in Indonesia and the Matarbari power plant in Bangladesh.

Environmentalists point out, however, that no target date for phasing out domestic coal has been provided by G7 ministers, including representatives from Japan, casting doubt on the seriousness of their commitment.

Under the current Energy Strategic Plan, released in October 2021, Japan aims to use coal for 19% of its household energy by the end of this decade.

G7 ministers also pledged to ‘primarily’ decarbonise their electricity sectors by 2035, a crucial way to maintain Paris Agreement goals, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) .

Nevertheless, as pointed out in a recent briefing for journalists Dave Jones, global program manager at Ember, a global energy think tank, even the term “primarily” provides nations with substantial leeway to avoid specific commitments.

While the IEA considers the term “primarily” to indicate the use of approximately 98% clean energy, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has stated that its own interpretation of the term means nothing more than 50%.

This suggests that despite the show of unity from G7 ministers, Japan’s climate commitments remain far behind those of other advanced economies.

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

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