Japan To Adopt Net Zero Emissions Target For 2050?

Nikkei Asia Says Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga Expected To Announce Net Zero GHG Emission Goal For Country By 2050, Boosting Its Renewable Energy Prospects
06:02 PM (Beijing Time) - 22. October 2020
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Soon after China declared a carbon neutral goal to be achieved before 2060, its neighbor Japan is said to be considering a net zero emissions goal by 2050. Nikkei Asia believes the country’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (in the picture) may be making the announcement in his 1st general policy address to the Diet. (Photo Credit: Cabinet Public Relations Office, Cabinet Secretariat Japan)

Key Takeaways

  • Nikkei Asia says it has learned Japan is set to officially announce the country’s ambition to go net zero in its GHG emissions by 2050
  • It could come out with some concrete measures as promoting renewable energy and realize a carbon-free society in 2050
  • As of now, Japan wants to have 22% to 24% renewables share in its electricity mix 2030 with 56% to come from coal and LNG

A news report by Nikkei Asia claims the 99th Prime Minister of Japan, Yoshihide Suga is set to announce net zero GHG emissions target for the country by 2050, and this could happen as soon as next week when he will deliver his 1st general policy address to the Japanese Parliament, Diet.

This would be higher than the country’s current ambition to lower emissions by 80% by 2050. Such a target should mean a heavy uptake of renewable energy, one can imagine. “The government plans to put together concrete measures such as promoting renewable energy when Suga on Monday is set to announce the net zero emission target in his first general policy address to the Diet, Japan’s parliament, since taking office last month. Japan will reduce overall emissions to zero and realize a carbon-free society in 2050, he plans to say,” reads the Nikkei Asia report.

Under its current energy mix targeted for the year 2030, Japan aims to have 56% electricity to come from fossil fuels as coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG), 22% to 24% of renewables as solar and wind power, along with the addition of nuclear energy to account for 20% to 22% of power generated.

If Japan does officially go in for a net zero target, Nikkei says it would mean electricity, automobile and steel industries will be expected to conform to the changed status.

According to the Japanese Ministry of Environment, 163 local governments including those of Tokyo, Kyoto and Yokohama have already pledged to go net zero in their carbon emissions by 2050.

Earlier this year, the Renewable Energy Institute (REI) in Japan released a Proposal for 2030 Energy Mix in Japan suggesting complete coal-fired power generation phase out and a 45% renewable energy mix for the country by 2030. As per the REI proposal, till the end of 2019 Japan had an installed solar PV capacity of 55.6 GW (11.3 GW residential rooftop+44.3 GW commercial ground mounted). Under the current policy scenario of the government, by 2030 it would reach 102.1 GW (20.3 GW residential+15.7 GW industrial+66.1 GW commercial), but under the transition promotion scenario, its capacity would reach 144.6 GW (25.8 GW residential+36.1 GW industrial+82.8 GW commercial).

Wood Mackenzie believe the country is on course to reach its renewable energy goals for 2030 and may exceed it with massive investments in solar and wind power (see Japan Likely To Exceed RE Target By 2030: Wood Mackenzie).

An official net zero target by 2050 would bring Japan up to the league of several other countries, including the European Union that has already pledged a carbon neutral target for 2050 under its European Green Deal which means it will ensure there are no net emissions of GHG gases by 2050 (see Final European Green Deal Proposal Presented). Currently, the EU is discussing its 2030 targets – while the European Commission proposed to cut CO2 emissions by 55%, the EU parliament is asking for 60%.

Recently, Japan’s heavyweight neighbor China said it will chase a carbon neutral goal before 2060 to achieve green recovery in the post COVID-19 era (see China Declares Carbon Neutrality Goal By 2060).

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews

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Anu Bhambhani