When the world is gearing up for implementing the Paris Agreement adopted at COP21, Japan started backsliding.
The Ministry of Environment announced that it would approve construction of coal-fired power plants on the condition that the power industry sets its voluntary action plan and reports the implementation of the plan, which is supposed to be consistent with Japanese INDC.
- Japan Times: Japan to get more coal-fired power plants thanks to Environment Ministry policy reversal
During the last few years, MoE played a role of stopping coal-fired power plants through the environmental impact assessment processes. It wasn’t an ideal measure but it was the only available weapon for MoE.
However, in the face of mounting pressure from industry (which complains about the uncertainty related to coal-fired power plants) and Prime Minister office’s general support for coal-fired power plants, MoE seems to have shifted its position.
This is a quite worrying sign, because, according the survey conducted by some civil society organization such as Kiko Network, the number of planned coal-fired power plants is 47 (total capacity is 22.5 Gw), many of them are expected to come into operation around 2020.
This means lots of high carbon assets in Japan even during the last half of this century, which is totally inconsistent with what the Paris Agreement’s long-term goal hints for countries like Japan.
The government doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo.