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Japan, The Climate Laggard

September 14, 2018

By Paul Homewood


An opinion piece from the Nikkei Asian Review, by Michiyo Morisawa, who is director of the Japan office of CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project), a global environmental impact nonprofit, providing a platform for all companies and cities to report information on their climate, water and deforestation impacts:



In 1997, Japan was at the forefront of climate action. The birthplace of the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement committing countries to limit greenhouse gas emissions, the country came to be synonymous with cutting carbon.

Fast-forward 21 years and Japan has struggled to make significant progress on reducing its own emissions.

Japan has a very limited supply of natural resources, so energy security dominates the political agenda, with climate change seen as the poor relation. With public concern over the safety of nuclear power following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant accident still high, and renewables languishing at around 15% of the energy mix, Japan still depends largely on imported fossil fuels.

The country seems hooked on coal. The share of coal in the electricity mix actually increased from 10% in 1990 to 31% in 2015. With ambitions to build around 40 new coal-fired power plants, on top of some 100 existing ones, it’s not surprising that fossil fuels still dominate energy plans. By 2030 the government envisages that fossil fuels will make up 56% of the Japanese energy mix — more than the nuclear (20-22%) and renewable (22-24%) capacity combined.

What’s more, Japan has been slow to reduce emissions by enhancing the energy efficiency of domestic infrastructure. Homes in Japan are designed to be earthquake-proof and tend to be built with the humid summer weather in mind. As a result, buildings often have thin walls that provide minimal insulation, resulting in the overuse of air conditioning units both in the summer and in the winter.

Taking all this into account, Japan’s contribution to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement — a target to reduce its emissions by 26% by 2030, against a 2013 baseline — is considered unambitious on the international stage.


The rest of her article is not worth reading – just the usual green whining.

I am always stunned by how surprised these greenies are, when faced with the reality of their country’s INDCs at Paris.

As I pointed out prior to Paris, Japan’s pledge only amounted to a cut in CO2 emissions of 10% from 1990 levels, much less than the EU’s commitment to cut by 40%.

Worse still, the Japanese plan specifically aimed to increase the share of wind and solar to just 8.7% by 2030, a laughably pitiful amount.




I may be doing young Michiyo a grave injustice, but should she not have been attacking her government’s plans three years ago?

  1. September 14, 2018 2:26 pm

    maybe a laggard but so be it.
    it’s a wonderful place with good people.
    we love it.
    go there every year.

  2. Phillip Bratby permalink
    September 14, 2018 4:40 pm

    They need to get all that nuclear back on line. The public concerns over nuclear are, thanks to green propaganda, misplaced – just as they are in the West. How many people were killed or injured by radiation from Fukushima? None, of course.

    • Joe Public permalink
      September 14, 2018 4:56 pm

      Recent update”

      “Japanese Government Acknowledges First Fukushima Radiation Death
      September 5, 2018

      …… As workers report cancers that could be linked to radiation exposure, it’s difficult to prove that the meltdown is definitely the cause. At least five applications for compensation have been denied, according to the Asahi Shimbun.

      As Nature reported in 2012, two assessments by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation and the World Health Organization concluded that “few people will develop cancer as a consequence of being exposed to radioactive material … and those who do will never know for sure what caused their disease.”

      The U.N. report “shows that 167 workers at the plant received radiation doses that slightly raise their risk of developing cancer,” the journal wrote. At the same time, for those workers, “future cancers may never be directly tied to the accident, owing to the small number of people involved and the high background rates of cancer in developed countries such as Japan.””

      Sadly one fatality in seven years.

      For perspective – in GB, deaths from using the stuff that Fukushima generated results in approx 18 deaths & 350,000 serious injuries each year.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      September 14, 2018 4:57 pm

      They have acknowledged (compensated) a few radiation linked cancers and a death, but yes, tiny numbers given the level of the fear.

  3. Jack Broughton permalink
    September 14, 2018 8:45 pm

    The comment about Japan’s energy being dependent on imports is noteworthy: the UK is now in the same situation unless we re-open a lot of coal mines or have great fracking successes.

    It is incredible that our energy security now depends on gas and electricity imports and the wind blowing all the time of course. If Groenigen is closed, as looks increasingly likely, The competition for Norwegian gas and hence its price will take-off, unless the Russians help!

    Maybe we need to re-visit the manufacture of gas from oil for security.

    • September 14, 2018 9:48 pm

      I seem to remember that the Jap/US stand off that ended with Pearl Harbour was the result of Japan having few supplies of oil/raw materials, and needing to expand its sphere of influence into SE Asia.

      • Jack Broughton permalink
        September 15, 2018 1:29 pm

        So, climate change may perversely be the cause of the next war as countries, like the UK, who have pursued foolish unreliable and unsustainable energy sources at the expense of their indigenous resource, in the name of climate change, panic. However, oil is likely to become abundant if all the electric cars happen worldwide.

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