Friday 30th September 2016                 Change text size:

Japan prefers coal over renewables for post-Fukushima energy mix



Emilian Robert Vicol via FLickr

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has approved a new energy plan that promotes coal as a cheap, stable, long-term and efficient energy source, along with nuclear power, while failing to set adequate renewable energy targets.

Shortly after the UN warned that the world must dramatically reduce the use of fossil fuels and increase investment in clean energy in order to tackle climate change, the Japanese government has given the green light to a new energy plan that would give a prominent role to coal.

Japan imports much of its energy sources and has said it would “use coal while caring for the environment”, by looking at strategies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from it.

The move has been criticised by environmentalists and the clean energy industry, which hoped for a strong switch to renewable energy sources following the 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant, which changed the public attitude towards nuclear energy.

Japan Renewable Energy Foundation commented, “What had been expected of the basic plan was to present a major policy to switch from nuclear power.

“But the basic plan shows that the government has given up to fulfil that role. The plan does not promote a shift from old energy policies.”

Meanwhile, Tokyo Electric (Tepco), the company that owned Fukushima’s nuclear plant, has plans for more coal-fired facilities in the country.

“The energy plan failed to present the spirit of innovation. Japan basically needs to recognise an increase in coal use is a serious issue for climate change. The country needs to push for reduction of carbon dioxide,” WWF Japan said.

Photo:  Emilian Robert Vicol via Flickr

Further reading:

Asian pollution is strengthening storms, new study finds

Investments in renewables must increase, warns UN

World told to ‘stand up to fossil fuels’ ahead of IPCC climate change report

Japan makes nuclear commitment despite Fukushima devastation

COP19: coal must ‘change rapidly and dramatically’, says UN climate chief


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