Will attain carbon-neutral society and zero-emission by 2050: Japan PM Suga

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Will attain carbon-neutral society and zero-emission by 2050: Japan PM Suga - We The World
Image of Japanese President Suga, courtesy of 内閣官房内閣広報室 via Commons

Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Monday that his nation will attain a zero-emission society and carbon neutrality by 2050, an u-turn on Japan’s typical stance on climate change.

Addressing the parliament, Suga delivered his first speech on the policy after taking office, and said responding to climate change is no longer an economic concern for the nation, Reuters news agency reported.

He spoke about the Indo-Pacific politics, ties with China and the US, and the upcoming Tokyo Olympics that the nation will host in Summer 2021, local media reported.

Japan’s stance on climate change has been rather implicit, with the government maintaining a neutral tone on concrete adoption of climate goals like achieving zero-emissions on a net basis.

“We need to change our 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 great growth,” Suga said.

Stressing on sustainable technology like solar cells and carbon cycle, the Japanese premier said the nation is investing in research in these key areas that will help offset the emission.

Japan is the world’s fifth-biggest emitter. Under the Paris Climate Agreement, Japan set a 2030 goal of reducing 26% emission and a 2050 goal of reducing 80% emission.

But the new policy announced by Suga affirms net-zero emissions by 2050, which is certainly progress from the nation’s history of indifference on the climate change goals.

Just recently, an impending verdict to dump millions of tonnes of radioactive water in the sea from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant made global headlines.

If effective, the nation will release the poisonous and human-DNA damaging radioactive waste into the sea, as the thousands of tanks containing the wastewaters are set to run out of capacity by summer 2022.

While the Japanese government has been indifferent to climate change, many of the nation’s biggest firms have vowed to go in-sync with climate change goals.

Honda, one of Japan’s biggest automakers, and a globally recognized brand dropped out from the iconic F1 racing as an engine-maker by the end of the 2021 season, to focus on their long-term climate goal, We The World earlier reported.

Data watch company Nikkei Asia says global investors, holding $20 trillion in assets have called to 1,800 companies to set science-based targets for cutting emissions.

Trends on the finance graph show a global shift in demand for climate-friendly investment. Shares of US-based electric automaker Tesla surged while that of Japan’s Toyota has been sluggish.

It must be noted, Japan’s announcement on the climate change goal comes at a time when the nation is prepping up for the Tokyo Olympics Game, postponed one-year to Summer 2021 for the pandemic.

With the global scrutiny on the nation’s actions, it is yet to be seen which direction the nation takes its own political game.

The world’s biggest emitters of carbon like the EU, UK, US, and China are struggling to keep the emissions levels on par with the required level to achieve any of the long-term goals set, like the Paris Agreement.

China, in last month’s UN General Assembly, announced it will attain net-zero carbon emission by 2060. China is the world’s largest consumer of coal.

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