Outflanked and Exposed, Japan Has Run Out of Excuses

Japan started on the right path when the Kyoto Protocol was adopted. It has since gone downhill. Paris delivered on the main negotiating demand that Japan proposed: action from all Parties and a framework for transparency and accountability. Ahead of the Japan G7, ECO believes Japan needs to do more.

1) Japan has all the national ingredients to advance a prosperous and thriving zero-carbon economy. Along with the US and Germany, Japan is one of the leaders in innovation of energy technologies, including wind, solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power.

2) Japan is running out of friends. At one time, Japan was sheltered by a wide group of laggards it could hide behind—not so any more. A new government in Canada has now joined the Obama administration in pushing for a low-GHG agenda.

3) Japan is being outflanked by its neighbour, China. In 2015, total renewable energy investment in China rose 17% to US$102 billion–more than double that of Japan, where investment has remained flat over the past two years.

4) Japan is one of last remaining major donors for coal financing worldwide. Between 2007 and 2015, Japan financed more coal projects compared to any other G7 country, totalling approximately $22 billion. And worse still, Japan is considering more financing for coal to the tune of almost $10 billion. Let’s not even get started on Japan’s continual claims around “efficient” coal. Just keep it in the ground, Japan!

5) Japan still plans to increase its coal use domestically. This will compromise the country’s 2030 NDC and Japan could face $60 billion in stranded assets.

Japan has a rich history of innovation and advanced technology. It’s no wonder that ECO is left perplexed by their obsession with an old fossil like coal. Japan, it’s time to lead the world, instead of being shamed as an outdated player.

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