Japan is aiming for zero emissions by 2050, says PM

26 Oct 2020

Japan is planning to cut greenhouse gases to zero by 2050 and become carbon neutral.

This is according to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Monday as he revealed a major policy shift in terms of climate change.

Beforehand, Japan had stated it would be carbon neutral as quickly as possible in the second half of the century, Reuters reports.

In his first policy address to parliament Suga stated: “Responding to climate change is no longer a constraint on economic growth.

“We need to change our thinking to the view that taking assertive measures against climate change will lead to changes in industrial structure and the economy that will bring about great growth.”

Japan’s aim of cutting greenhouse gases to zero by 2050 brings the country in line with the EU, which last year established the same date to be carbon neutral.

Last month Chinese President Xi Jinping promised to make his country “carbon neutral” by 2060.

Japan is the fifth-biggest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, and although plans are in place to increase renewable energy, there are also plans to introduce new coal-burning power stations.

Industry Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama told a news conference: “Carbon neutrality itself is a growth strategy, and we must carry it out with all we have.”

Suga added that in order to achieve the targets, new solar cells and carbon recycling would play a key role, and Japan would increase research and development in these areas.

“Japan joining the EU in targeting carbon neutrality by 2050 is very welcome, and so is PM Suga’s focus on green technologies and especially solar, as a growth driver,” said Eric Pedersen, Nordea Asset Management’s head of responsible investment.