What should Japan do?
Enhance its NDC to be 1.5 degree aligned by COP27:
- Revise 2030 NDC to 62% and be clearer about the tangible transition pathway and market signals
- Stop investing and subsidizing advanced fossil technology, especially fossil ammonia and hydrogen for thermal power sector and commit to phase out coal.
- Set higher target for renewables by 2030, and conduct market reform to remove barriers for accelerating RE introduction.
- End ICE sales by 2035 including HEV and PHEV
- Support developing countries through commit to provide climate finance
Build a just and resilient recovery plan:
- Ensure fair electricity market to accelerate RE deployment
- Provide support to people and communities affected by the energy transition
- Stop public investment to fossil related projects
- Do not rely on future “innovations” of carbon based technologies, but invest just transition with non-fossil fuel technologies
What you need to know about Japan?
- Japan’s 2030 emissions reduction target is 46- 50 % below 2013 level. But 1.5°C compatible pathway would necessitate a reduction of over 60% below 2013 levels.
- PV installment slows down due to the lack of incentive and market barriers. Promotion of renewable energy capabilities, in particular offshore wind is essential.
- Decarbonizing transport requires a rapid transition from fossil fuel to electric vehicles (EVs) powered by renewable energy and the use of green hydrogen for heavy-duty transport.
- Japan’s coal dependency is the highest in G7 countries (32% of electricity) and has no coal phase out plan. Japan’s approach of decarbonization in power sector is to use ammonia and hydrogen as alternatives of coal and gas. The promotion of fossil ammonia and hydrogen allows to prolong lifetime of coal power.
- Industries, financial institutions, and local governments commit net zero and progressive businesses are calling for renewable energy expansion to 40-50% by 2030.
- Green recovery isn’t a mainstream discussion but investment for innovation including hydrogen, CCUS, nuclear, which could be used as an excuse to delay the actions
Recent developments, threats and levers for action
- To respond to the current energy crisis, Japan aims to maintain current fossil based power plants and promotion of nuclear restart and new development while RE shift is very slow.
- Japan has no plan to update NDC or strengthen policies and measures leading up to COP27. Counter incentives to reduce cost of electricity or gasoline are introduced.
- GX (Green Transformation) league was established and GX bond will be issued to support industries to earn profits from new nuclear or new fossil projects. Under the scheme, voluntary emissions trading has started as a demonstration project.
- RE demands grow from business and local governments – aggregated demand could lead to cost reduction
- With its high capacity and technologies, Japan is well placed to benefit from green transition if immediate actions are taken
- Once the government set a target, industries and local governments follow
- Japan’s position is isolated among G7 on the position of power sector decarbonization and fossil finance. As G7 presidency in 2023, Japan needs to play a positive role. International pressures will work until G7 2023.
- About 800 local governments commit to net zero and started to make plans.
- RE demands from business grows.
- International institutional Investors and shareholders’ engagement will be very powerful to push industries.
- Climate places very low political agenda and energy crisis worsens the situation.
- Very few friendly members in the current government.
- Weak RE support from public and public mobilization.
- Current government is pro-nuclear and pro-fossil, and high level political leadership cannot be expected.
- Strong industry lobbying to maintain fossil based infrastructure and its business model expands subsidies to ammonia, hydrogen, nuclear and CCUS, not RE or energy efficiency.
- Continued strong support for ICE and hybrid cars and very slow shift to EV.
- Negative narratives with biased information on climate actions spread.
About Climate Diplomacy Snapshots
The data is clear. Accelerated and enhanced action is needed now to build resilience and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. As they seek to address the ongoing health, economic and social impacts of COVID-19, governments should seize opportunities to invest in a recovery that will build social, economic and climate resilience on the long-term.The Climate Diplomacy Snapshots aim to provide the climate community with a clear overview of what each country should do, on climate and recovery, to pursue these joint objectives and keep the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C. Each has been prepared with the help of national experts, and will be regularly updated. The snapshots aim to support climate advocacy in the lead up to COP26.