Young climate activists hold a banner at rally calling on the government to raise the target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, outside the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, to mark World Earth Day in Tokyo on Thursday. Photo: REUTERS/Androniki Christodoulou
politics

Japan says it will aim for 46% emissions cut by 2030

57 Comments
By Yoshifumi Takemoto and Yuka Obayashi

Japan on Thursday nearly doubled its target for cutting carbon emissions, responding to pressure from the United States and some of its own companies as world leaders met for a climate summit hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Japan would aim for a 46% cut by 2030 and look for ways to go even further. Its previous target was a 26% reduction from 2013 levels, a goal that activists had branded unambitious.

Other countries also announced stronger action in the lead-up to the virtual summit, with Britain pledging a 78% reduction by 2035.

Washington, which announced its own plan to halve emissions as it opened the meeting, is seeking to reclaim global leadership in the fight against global warming after former President Donald Trump withdrew from international efforts.

Japan, the world's fifth-biggest carbon emitter, had been under pressure from the Biden administration to set a 50% target, according to sources familiar with discussions held before and during a visit by Suga to Washington last weekend.

Suga said that achieving the new target would not be easy but he would instruct ministers to accelerate plans. "We will continue trying for an even higher cut of 50 percent," he added.

U.N. climate scientists say the world's net CO2 emissions must fall to zero by 2050, to limit the rise in global temperatures to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial levels. Exceeding that amount of warming would unleash the most severe impacts of climate change.

Late last year, Suga set a goal for carbon neutrality by 2050, bringing Japan more into line with some other countries at the time.

The government is also reviewing energy policy this year and has indicated it will aim for lower use of carbon-emitting fossil fuels in the electricity mix.

However, it has so far - to heavy criticism - kept up support for coal due to the slow restart of reactors after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 led to their shutdown.

"All eyes will now be on the pending revision of the Strategic Energy Plan, with huge parts of corporate Japan urging for a target of 50% or more renewables by 2030," Dylan Tanner, executive director of InfluenceMap, a London-based data analysis company, told Reuters.

"Such a number would kick-start both regulatory reform and investment in Japan's power sector in line with global trends towards solar and wind," he added.

Aeon Co, Asia's largest retailer, Fujitsu, Ricoh and other companies last year demanded Japan's government speed up a shift to renewable energy and a zero carbon economy in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Japan's motor industry sounded a note of caution on Thursday.

"What Japan needs to do now is to expand its options for technology," said Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor speaking in his capacity as head of Japan's automobile manufacturers association.

"Policy that bans gasoline-powered or diesel cars from the very beginning would limit such options, and could also cause Japan to lose its strengths," he told a regular press briefing.

Japan's powerful business lobby, Keidanren, is dominated by energy-intensive sectors that represent less than 10% of the economy, an InfluenceMap study last year said.

Such lobbying has resulted in national policies that favour coal and hindered attempts to combat climate change, the study said - an assertion dismissed by Keidanren.

© Thomson Reuters 2021.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

57 Comments
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Just “aiming” is enough, right? Don’t worry about hitting the target.

“PM Suga said Japan would aim for a 46% cut by 2030 and look for ways to go even further. Its previous target was a 26% reduction from 2013 levels, a goal that activists had branded “unambitious”. -

“Unambitious” must be very “zen” concept.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Plus, Japan is also very successful a “doubling” lately due to Mr. Suga’s leadership(?).

“Japan on Thurs nearly “doubled” its target for cutting carbon emissions” -

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Japan's powerful business lobby, Keidanren, is dominated by energy-intensive sectors that represent less than 10% of the economy, an InfluenceMap study last year said.

Suga can say what he wants, Keidanren make the policy, they are led by? Nippon Kaige members.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Toyoda makes it very clear why it is indeed necessary to ban gasoline and diesel engines.

His company would churn them out forever because "that is Japan's strength".

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Japan would aim for a 46% cut by 2030

Yet actively planning to dump millions of tonnes of treated radioactive water into the ocean.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

House is already burnt down. Not much left...

2 ( +7 / -5 )

TEPCO and utilities companies will be a challenge. A report published last year showed that utilities companies are holding progress on climate change back globally.

Although utilities companies have invested in renewables, they’ve invested even more in natural gas facilities in the same period.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

With the fourth wave of coronavirus infection hitting Japan, this is no time for PM to be wasting time talking complacently about emission reduction. He should prioritize containing the spread of the virus and helping out individuals and businesses affected by the pandemic.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

It really doesn't matter anymore, the damage has been done. 46%, 50%, or even 78% by any target year all it means is that we will continue to poison ourselves and future generations for the next 9, 14, or more years.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

just one small comment: please be nicer to people who ride bicycles. Zero carbon emissions, zero commuting cost, but also zero respect on the road.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Aims ?

I hear that word used very often in Japan by politicians but nothing is achieved.

Again more 'kuchi dake' from Suga and co!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

GoJapan !!..

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Maybe PM Suga will take the opportunity to use videoconferencing more instead of taking two jet planes on his trips out of Japan?

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Japan says it will aim for 46% emissions cut by 2030

I hope this goes better than their aim for 30% female representation on corporate boards by last year went

Policy that bans gasoline-powered or diesel cars from the very beginning would limit such options, and could also cause Japan to lose its strengths," he told a regular press briefing.

This is BS. Toyota made a losing bet on how car technology was going to develop and now wants the government to protect them from the consequences no matter what the cost to the rest of us.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

kurisupisu

Maybe PM Suga will take the opportunity to use videoconferencing more instead of taking two jet planes on his trips out of Japan?

But you just did the same. Take a jet back to the UK?

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

The human race needs to change their ways, or the Earth will change them for them.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

lol, I just got back from my local supermarket here where they have bananas and onions wrapped in plastic, plastic inside plastic inside plastic, etc....no way can Japan achieve this.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

@obladi What? Japan is one of the best places in the world to commute by bicycle. Car drivers are very respectful of cyclists in Japan.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Dedicated bicycle lanes, please.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

Ah yes, just in time for the Great Reset. Right on schedule. "You will own nahzing, and you vill love eet."

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@JeffLee Have you ever lived in Japan or are you posting from Texas. Literally, millions of people commute or go to the station by bicycle every day. There are bike lanes aplenty and sidewalks in urban areas have bike lanes instead of forcing cyclists to travel besides dump trucks.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Surprising how many Japanese people and even companies have almost zero knowledge of carbon emission levels, let alone any endeavors of carbon neutrality. It's coming from my own experience. Just yesterday I was discussing this with my colleagues and our company had no plans or goals for carbon neutrality. Despite being in the transportation sector.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

This means absolutely nothing

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I guess they want to protect the land and oceans for their nuclear waste.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

There are more than 200 million bicycles in Japan.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Streets lined with vending machines, thousands of escalators running all day long even with no-one on them, thousands of useless video screens blaring ads in supermarkets, train stations, and on buildings, massive over-use of plastic, cars given priority over bicycles and pedestrians on even the narrowest residential streets, buildings designed to require indoor lighting on even the sunniest days, a near total lack of greenery in the city meaning the temperature is forever rising and millions of air-conditioning units used all summer long, advertising trucks driving around city streets blasting out jingles, etc etc etc...

... if Japan wants to help save the environment there plenty of things that must change, but people's mindsets must change first. I just don't see it it happening, summers will get ever hotter, the weather ever more chaotic, and people will scratch their heads and just wonder why.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Japan says it will aim for 46% emissions cut by 2030

Just a meaningless statement, sound bite, not remotely feasible, hot air, not carbon friendly for sure,

Just cynical pledges and promises that will come, or amount to nothing

The same regurgitated nonsense spouted at World leaders pledge climate cooperation livestreamed summit.

The economics of this pandemic will have, not could have, a dramatic negative effect on the economic viability of the global financial investment pledged to climate policies.

Why blatantly vomit falsehood.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@Tokyo-m Sounds like you need to buy or rent a dirt cheap "open house" in a small country town.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

But not now...yawn

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Japan says it will aim for 46% emissions cut by 2030....

Why not 45.3%, or 43.5% or perhaps 41.2%, flip a 100 yen coin best out of three,

The G 7 or whatever they are calling themselves this week are having a laugh.

Is there any serious suggestion the Governments of China or India will cease choking there population to death.

President Biden struggled with the pronunciation of Glasgow.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I see. OK! Japan is concerned about air pollution but not keeping our oceans clean. Seems to me that there is something fishy about this line of thinking.

"Japan says it will aim for 46% emissions cut by 2030"

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I fully support this idea, but have no expectations about it being realized.

Instead of giving billions to Nissan, the government could cut my household emissions by something like 20% immediately by fitting solar panels on my house. I haven't fitted them because we live in a snowy area and no installer will give me a warranty. I can guarantee that lots and lots of pork barrel projects will be justified by this announcement, and most of them will cost much more for a much smaller gain than putting solar panels on people's houses. That floating wind farm in Fukushima that has just been abandoned, for example. That cost near half a billion dollars.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

In Australia they are planing to ban firewood to heat your house to achieve they emission target. I hope they don't do it here.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

There are more than 200 million bicycles in Japan.

Try to park one in a city without either paying ¥250 for parking or stolen by city backed yankee k-truck people who charge ¥4000 for return.

maybe off topic, but apart from Kobe, most Japanese cities are flat in valleys or sea plains. If people use bicycles for short distance travel, CO2 emissions via combustion engines will reduce by up to 34.5%.

unfortunately, people like the city boss of Kyoto expounds his view that people who ride bicycles will look like Chinese peasants and destroy Kyoto’s image.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

In Australia they are planing to ban firewood to heat your house to achieve they emission target. I hope they don't do it here.

No they aren't. The debate about firewood heaters is purely about the effect of the smoke they produce on local air quality, it has nothing to do with CO2 emissions targets.

Wood heaters can actually be carbon neutral provided the wood they burn is replaced with new trees.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"This is fine" says dog in house on fire

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Japan says it will aim for 46% emissions cut by 2030

BS! There is no way on Earth that Japan can achieve that in such a small time frame given how Japan operates. Unless they start to seriously consider changing the way the country works.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Japan is the most dangerous country I ever went concerning bicycle commuting (never went to America).

3 Years ago, when I was living on the countryside, while I was going to my job on my road bike, a car overtake my on a road limited to 30km/h (I was at 28km/h and he was at least at 50-60 km/h) and touched me with his side mirror. I fell on the asphalt and must go to the hospital. 4 chirurgical suture on my right hand and 4 on the upper lip and chin. Of course anybody stop to help me (Japanese have the reputation to help everybody but I don't know why but they NEVER help me....) and need to call a colleague for going to the hospital. I couldn't work for two day and my company didn't pay my salary because I didn't had enough paid holiday...

Two other time, I was moving forward on a intersection and a car in front of me turn right and ignore me. I managed to avoid the car but it was very dangerous. When turning right on small road, I used my right hand like a blinker but cars always ignored it and overtake me even if I'm on the middle of the road for turning!

Those are only car!! I can't count the number of time a bicycle came in front of me when I'm riding on the left side (they are riding on the right side) and continue like it is normal. Each time, I must move on the right for avoiding them. And don't forget the locals who put flowerpots at the edge of their homes and the road...

Riding bicycle is safe only if you ride downtown on the sidewalk at the same speed than pedestrians but the road regulation say that bike must ride on the road. In Europe, there are true bicycle lanes (in Japan road are so small that car must ride on it), bicycle freeway and car MUST give priority to bicycle.

As I don't want to die riding a bicycle, I sold it after 2 years and commute by bus or walking

If they really want to cut CO2 emission, this is really easy : stop to set aircon at 25C on the middle of summer with door of shop full open; build housing with thermal isolation; sell food on bigger package with less plastics; pass a law that obliges to turn of light and neon of closed shop; more green in cities; build geothermal electric plant (volcanic country so there are plenty of hot water);...

18 ( +19 / -1 )

This is all nice but also lots of BS. Many of these First World nations developed themselves using dirty energy, and now they, themselves, are moving on with the clean 'Green' energy so what are they doing ? They are exporting their dirty energy in form of industries to third world countries as " investments" and job creation.

In a country I'm familiar with, the Isuzu company still produces engines it used in Japan in the 70-80s, and I'll bet it's the same in various countries within the continent and in SE Asia. They are dumping their manufacturing (garbage) in 3rd World countries and then call on them to observe strict emissions, all the while making $$ out of it.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

no komento...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

One on the right is cute, deets?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

dkm:

As a cyclist I sympathize with you. Absolute crazy drivers (and cyclists too!).

The problem is made worse with many roads being narrow and with no pavements or sidewalks

(sorry but I prefer cycling there rather than on roads, given how people drive here). And saying how drivers are worse in China or India doesn't help me one bit.

Some accidents and near-accidents have occured because drivers (in my cases, they were mostly women!!!)

thought they didn't need to stop at stop signs.

So glad I don't have the hassle of using a car, what with taxes, gasoline, shaken, repairs, parking fees, etc. Not adding to pollution is a big bonus.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

"NDC 62%, Nuclear 0, Fossils 0. Melting planet on fire." It's aims and pledges.

Gotta be better than just keeping schtum, surely.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cycling is a mixed bag in Japan. Loads of people do it, which is great, but mostly on antiquated shopping bikes ridden on the wrong side of the road with one hand on a mobile or an umbrella. If you venture onto the roads proper, hopefully on a better bike, you are at the mercy of cars and trucks and other cyclists on the wrong side of the road. Many cars and trucks will assume you are just as slow as the shopping bikes and attempt reckless overtaking moves or pull out without realizing you are rolling along at 35kph plus. In this situation, it is good to be on a serious bike with functioning brakes and not the squeaky decorations fitted on mama bikes.

If you have climbing legs, mountainous parts of Japan have road cycling as good as anywhere in the world. The scenery and villages are prettier in France etc., but the roads are far more deserted in Japan. Fully maintained tarmac, but one kei truck an hour levels of traffic.

I don't think transport is actually that big a form of emissions, but its mostly rich people who are responsible for them. 50% of the emissions for aviation are from 1% of the people, those who use private jets or go four times a year to their condo in Hawaii. The only way Japan will cut emissions by half is by stopping people doing extravagant things that are only limited by the ability to pay for them. I don't think any government in the world has the will to tell rich people what to do.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why are climate change activists never focusing on China, India, Middle East and other third countries that are the biggest producers of pollution? I'd bet most have not visited those countries and seen firsthand how unbelievably horrible the pollution is in those countries.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

If you can't ride a bike safely in Japan, start walking. I have literally ridden thousands of kilometers with never a near miss nor a problem with any drivers not making space. I have commuted in urban areas, cycled the countryside and gone on 2-wwek expeditions. Come on folks, learn to ride, the street belongs to everyone, cars included, just because you are on a bike, don't abdicate your responsibility to ride safe. Most roads these days have either blue or red marked bike lanes or clearly marked paths on the sidewalks or dedicated bike trails.

I am part of an active cycling community with some competitive cyclists and nobody I know has been hit by a car. I heard third-hand of a wobbly guy on a bike that got grazed by a car side mirror (built to bend in which greatly absorbs most of the shock) but the guy should not have been on a street on a bike as he was wobbling along at 5 km/hr. Ride straight and enjoy, and take some responsibility and try not to drive in front of cars.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

That’s all stupid propaganda only, because more and more die in the unmanaged pandemic. They just make global climate conferences and set totally unrealistic goals to calm down the masses, give the protesting youth something to hold on as a future vision and such, but you can also enjoy a flying toy helicopter on Mars or a canceled football SuperLeague if you are more with other topics, that camouflage the corona disaster.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

How do you get these numbers ?

What's been said here in Japan is never matches reality.

There is metrics, there is interpretation, you've got business , corruption also isn't unheard of.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Never mind, people who can't ride a bike shouldn't even be allowed to walk as 3 times more pedestrians are killed by cars in Japan than cyclists. Just lock yourself in the closet with a helmet on in case a pillow falls on your head.

Learn to ride a bike people.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

More hollow words to shut big brother up. Japan never follows through with their words.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I am part of an active cycling community with some competitive cyclists and nobody I know has been hit by a car. 

There are plenty of crash stories on Tokyo Cycling Club if you care to read about them. Here's just one, the classic "overtake a cyclist and immediately turn left" (Japanese "makikomi" maneuver.

https://tokyocycle.com/threads/i-was-hit-by-a-van-yesterday.8477/#post-121116

Anyway, transport is only part of the problem.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Back on topic please.

(continued)

To reach a 46% cut, there will have be be vast changes to home and business heating and cooling, food supply, entertainment, industry, construction, ... it's the whole shebang. Is the Japanese government going to heavily insulate every house in Japan in the next 8.5 years? Is it going to stop people eating meat and all air-freighted foods? Is it going to drastically reduce fuel use in agriculture and forestry? Of course it isn't. All I can foresee is turning back on some nuke plants and some headline-grabbing pork-barrel megaprojects with dodgy carbon accounting. The maglev, a 300km tunnel that will then need huge amounts of electricity to run, will still be built.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The new Abe arrow sort of.

More coal plants needed to charge electric vehicles, but people do not see those.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What about china?

Cut carbon emissions and blast carbon emissions in different countries with no scrubbers. Increasing pm2.5 and cancer.

Japan is not the problem, no is America. It's china and all the globalist companies that go to produce their products with countries that have low regulation and pollute the earth while they virtue signal about race all day.

Corporate greed = earth day

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The inability of the government to lead in the struggle to get the populace vaccinated against Covid-19 does not give me confidence in the government's ability to lead in reducing green house gases.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Rainyday: For the last 30 years politician have banned burn offs during winter due to air quality. This year the politician have approved burn offs during winter due to the summer long mega fires of 2019-22 and 30 years of mis-management. Even thought there is no fuel build up this winter. But they are still banning new and existing wood heaters from all homes in Australia. Where is the logic in that !!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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