EXPRESS #4 - December 7, 2018
Life is tough being a coal lobbyist in Europe. I’d move to Japan.
Japan has more than 30 new coal-burning power stations planned or under construction. It’s the only G-7 country still planning new coal-fired power stations.
This should come as a surprise to Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. After all, he wrote an op-ed for the Financial Times in September bearing the headline “Join Japan and act now to save our planet.” In it he said: “We must save both the green of the earth and the blue of its oceans.”
Confused? Japan isn’t. In fact, its pro-coal power policies extend overseas. Japan is funding coal-fired power plants from Vietnam to Indonesia. The Japan Bank for International Cooperation in the last three years has announced plans to provide up to $5.2 billion in financing for six coal-related projects.
“reliance on fossil fuels has risen to 84% of Japan’s energy mix in 2016 from 65% in 2010”
Under the Kyoto Protocol, Japan pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 6% between 2008 and 2012, but they began rising in around 2011. This is due, in part, to the Fukushima disaster. Halting the country’s nuclear reactors has led to an increased reliance on fossil fuels, which rose to 84% of Japan’s energy mix in 2016 from 65% in 2010. Greenhouse emissions increased by about 7% between 2010 and 2012, according to data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
More nuclear could reverse the trend. But Japan would need about 30 operating reactors by 2030 to achieve its goal of generating 22% of power from nuclear. However, only nine are currently working. As a result, experts say coal’s share of Japan’s energy mix may actually rise over the next decade.