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Japan must accelerate its domestic global warming countermeasures

  • 2015-12-14 15:00:00
  • , Nikkei
  • Translation

(Nikkei: December 13, 2015 – p. 3)


 With the creation of a new framework for global warming countermeasures, Japan is being called to speed up its domestic efforts. In July this year, the Japanese government proposed an international target: Japan would reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 26% by 2030 compared to 2013 levels. Additional energy-saving efforts and review of the nation’s energy mix are key to achieving the target, but the hurdles seem high.


 In terms of energy-saving initiatives, the government has set the goals of raising the dissemination rate of light-emitting diode (LED) lights from the current 9% to almost 100% and increasing by threefold or more the use of heat pump water heaters, which are energy efficient, by 2030.


 Japan also aims to have half or more of new housing built in 2020 have all of its consumed energy provided by solar power and the like.


 The government is also moving forward with the review of the electricity sector, which emits large amounts of GHGs. To achieve the best energy mix in fiscal 2030, the government has decided to substantially lower thermal power generation from the current 88% to 56% and plans to raise the percentage of energy generated by nuclear and renewables from around 10% to 44%.


 It will not be easy for Japan to reach the GHG emissions target, though. Energy saving has spread throughout the nation since the Great East Japan Earthquake, and some say that “it will be hard to do much more.” The resumption of operations at nuclear power plants, too, is stalled due to such factors as the strict safety screenings by the Nuclear Regulation Authority. Renewable energy faces cost and other issues.


 The new framework requires each country to review its voluntary target every five years. Considering the fact that some are criticizing Japan for allowing the construction of new coal-fired power plants, there is a possibility that Japan will be asked to add to its reductions at the time of its target review.

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