Japan’s new leader has announced plans for the country to become neutral in terms of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
New Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga revealed the new target on Monday, October 26, 2020 in his first parliamentary speech as premier.
The previous government had aimed for an 80 per cent reduction in emissions by the same year.
“We must change our approach,” Suga said.
He argued that proactively making structural changes to industry and businesses would enable strong economic growth.
He said Japan would henceforth seek to widely develop its renewable energy sources, reduce the reliance on coal, and put the focus when it comes to nuclear power on safety.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed Suga’s promise to make Japan carbon neutral.
“Japan is a good friend and ally and we look forward to working with them towards net zero emissions in 2050. The world is coming together for the climate,’’ she tweeted.
Japan signed up to the 2016 Paris agreement on climate change, and is bound by the deal to announce binding targets on greenhouse gas emissions.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 meant all the country’s nuclear facilities were shuttered, with most still offline. Japan has made up for the shortage with massive imports of fossil fuels.