IN a bolder approach to tackling the climate emergency, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said that the country is set to become carbon neutral by year 2050.
In his 1st policy address to parliament since taking office as prime minister of Japan, Suga said that responding to climate change is no longer a constraint on economic growth, and that people need to change its ways of thinking to the view that taking assertive measures against climate change will lead to changes in industrial structure and the economy that will bring about growth.
To recall, Japan had come under pressure to enhance its climate commitments after initially saying that Japan would achieve 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050, followed by carbon neutrality as soon as possible.
The policy shift brings Japan in line with the European Union, as the latter set a similar target in 2019.
Prime Minister Suga has yet to give details on how Tokyo would reduce its carbon emissions to zero, but said it would prioritize safety and promote renewable energy as it seeks a bigger role for nuclear. He also said that he would quicken research and development on technologies like the next-generation solar batteries and carbon recycling.
Suga also pledged to fundamentally change Japan’s long-term reliance on coal-fired energy, despite its struggles to cut emissions since the Fukushima meltdown incident in 2011.
Japan is the world’s 5th biggest emitter of carbon dioxide in 2018, according to website STATISTA, with the first four rankings being China, United States, India, and the Russian Federation.