While China, Germany, and the United States are working to reduce their reliance on coal-fired electricity, Scotland has closed its last coal plant, and other jurisdictions from Britain to Alberta have phase-out plans in place, Japan is doubling down on the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel.
The Asian nation “is planning to build 45 domestic coal plants,” Think Progress reports, “and the Japanese foreign investment bank is considering financing a massive [coal] project in Indonesia.” The drive to expand coal generation predates the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, the outlet reports, but was spurred on when Japan closed all its nuclear stations after the accident. The country’s government set a target last year of restoring nuclear generation to 20% of the nation’s energy mix, but plants have been slow to restart.
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There are five coal generating stations already under construction in Japan and another 41 in development, according to the Kiko Network, a Japanese environmental coalition.
It’s “unclear,” Think Progress observes, how emissions from those additional coal power plants will fit within Japan’s Paris climate commitment to reduce its greenhouse releases by 18% below 1990 levels by 2030.
Japan’s climate commitment has drawn harsh criticism, and the country is an outlier on other international environmental issues, most notably its persistence in hunting whales purportedly for research purposes.
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