What should Japan do?
Enhance its NDC to be 1.5 degree aligned by COP27:
- Revise 2030 NDC to increase ambition and be clearer about the tangible transition pathway and market signals
- Commit to phase out coal and decarbonize electricity sector by 2035
- Stop investing and subsidizing advanced fossil technology, especially fossil ammonia and hydrogen co-firing for electricity sector
- Increase 2030 renewable target to more than 50%, and conduct market reform to remove barriers for accelerating RE introduction.
- Strengthen carbon pricing mechanism
- Commit 100% ZEV by 2035
- Support just transition for affected communities.
Enhance its support for developing countries' decarbonization
- Stop overseas public finance for fossil fuel projects
- Stop investing and financing fossil fuel-linked innovative technologies, including ammonia and hydrogen co-firing and CCUS, especially in ASEAN countries
- Provide support to people and communities affected by the energy transition
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.
- 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.
- Japan’s renewable target is 36-38% by 2030. Although the land space is limited, there is a potential to scale up solar and wind. In addition, Japan’s potential for floating offshore wind is massive, with 9 times that of current national electricity consumption. The promotion of renewable energy is crucial.
- Japan prefers technologies utilizing existing energy infrastructure, such as ammonia and hydrogen co-firing, CCUS, and nuclear, rather than boosting energy transition to renewables. A large amount of investment is being made to technologies only commercialized after 2030.
- Japan resists 100% ZEVs and only 3% of new sales are BEV and PHEV in 2022.
Recent developments, threats and levers for action
- Japan continues to subsidize energy (gasoline and electricity) to mitigate price hike.
- Japan has no plan to update NDC or strengthen policies and measures leading up to COP28.
- Under the GX, technologies of ammonia co-firing for the coal power plants and CCUS are accelerated and promoted.
- Basic Hydrogen Strategy was revised after 7 years. It sets forth a new target to increase the supply of hydrogen and ammonia in Japan, to 3 million tons by 2030, to 12 million tons by 2040 and to 20 million tons by 2050.
- RE demands grow from business and local governments –aggregated demand could reduce costs.
- Once the government sets a target, industries and local governments follow
- Japan’s floating offshore wind potential is very high.
- Japan plans to set a floating offshore wind target in FY 2023 (latest by March 2024). Ambitious target setting can send a strong signal to the market.
- Cruel hot summer and extreme weather increases climate awareness.
- International and diplomatic pressure, using the moment of global stocktake at COP28, can be a leverage to push Japan.
- Climate places very low political agenda and energy crisis worsen the situation.
- Very few friendly members in the current government and legislators.
- Weak RE public support and public mobilization.
- The government subsidy for ammonia co-firing under the GX slows down to shut down existing coal power and no discussion on coal phase-out is started.
- Pro-renewable politician’s scandal with wind power company forces to pause the discussion of offshore wind power development, risking the market development.
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, the Ukraine-Russia war and growing climate change impacts, 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 COP28.