Japan Plans 40 New Coal Power Plants, Proposes New Climate Targets
Japan on Tuesday released for public consultation a Climate Action Plan that commits the nation to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80% by mid-century but contained little in terms of new policies.
The plan, drafted by two committees under the ministries of environment and economy, is intended to put Japan on a path to meeting its Paris pledge of cutting GHG emissions 26% below 2013 levels by 2030.
It committed Japan to an 80% GHG cut by 2050, but did not specify the base year.
But the action plan did not outline any new policies or targets, and focused primarily on technology development and encouraging voluntary emission cuts by business and industry.
“The main concern is measures on emissions from coal power plants. Since construction of many new coal plants are planned, the government will put in place some regulatory measures but, I suppose, with quite weak enforcement,” said Yukari Takamura, a climate policy expert and professor of international law at Nagoya University, who was part of the committee drawing up the draft.
Japan aims to limit coal’s share of electricity generation to 26% of the mix in 2030, but with more than 40 new coal-fired power plants planned in the country over the next decade, many observers have questioned whether it can meet that goal, especially after the Ministry of Environment last month gave up its resistance to approving new coal plants.