Japan has a goal to achieve carbon-neutrality by the year 2050. Speaking in his first address to the Japanese parliament since taking office, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga promised that the government will be aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero over the next 30 years. Although Suga did not give an elaborate plan on how he intends to achieve this new objective, he said that it is possible to achieve carbon-neutrality without jeopardizing the economy.

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“Responding to climate change is no longer a constraint on economic growth,” Suga said.

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Japan is currently the world’s fifth-largest carbon dioxide emitter. Unfortunately, the country has been slow in responding to environmental needs. Today, Japan mainly relies on coal and fossil fuels to power its industries. But the prime minister is assuring the nation and the world that the government will be working toward renewable energy, with the aim of restructuring industrialization to align with clean power.

“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 growth,” Suga said.

In its most recent renewable energy plan, Japan had set to attain an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2060. The plan included a possibility of its power coming from nuclear energy, an option that is widely contested in the country. After a 2011 nuclear power accident in Fukushima, the Japanese public has remained opposed to nuclear energy. Today, most of the nuclear reactors in the country stand shut down, with only a few being revived. For Japan to achieve its new target, it is necessary that the country looks at other alternatives rather than nuclear energy.

“Nearly 10 years on from Fukushima, we are still facing the disastrous consequences of nuclear power, and this radioactive legacy has made clear that nuclear energy has no place in a green, sustainable future,” said Sam Annesley, executive director for Greenpeace Japan.

Further, Annesley said the country needs to target 50% renewable energy by 2030 to reach net-zero energy by 2050 and help prevent global warming above 1.5°C.

Via The Guardian

Image via Ryo Yoshitake