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During the past decade, climate change changed from a theorized myth used in sci-fiction into a tragic reality. Nature is angry and done with all the pollution humans have created. Thus, all of the tsunamis, earthquakes, volcano eruptions and tornados we are witnessing today will only continue to increase, if the world persists with its damaging lifestyle. For the past couple of years, environments have been urging countries to take the much-needed measures to save us all from a grime future. Moreover, though many are taking steps to cut carbon emissions by half, Japan has decided to go all the way and to get net zero emissions  by 2050.

The Announcement

On Monday, Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, declared that his country will be carbon neutral by 2050. “Responding to climate change is no longer a constraint on economic growth,” he said during his first policy address to parliament since taking office.
“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 growth.”

Moreover, to applause from MPs, he added: “I declare we will aim to realize a decarbonized society.”

Doubts about Japan’s Plan

Since japan heavily relies on coal and other fossil fuels, doubts about Japan’s ability to achieve that goal still remain. Moreover, Suga did not provide details on how Japan would reduce carbon emissions to zero. However, he did say that the plan will promote renewable energy. It will also prioritize safety as it seeks a bigger role for nuclear energy.

Furthermore, Suga promised that they are going to speed up research and development on key technologies which include next-generation solar batteries and carbon recycling. He also pledged to “fundamentally change Japan’s long-term reliance on coal-fired energy”.

Greenpeace Japan

On the other hand, Greenpeace has welcomed the prime minister’s pledge with open arms. However, the Climate Action Network insisted that there should be no role for nuclear power in the upcoming plan.

“Nearly 10 years on from Fukushima we are still facing the disastrous consequences of nuclear power, and this radioactive legacy has made clear that nuclear energy has no place in a green, sustainable future,” the group’s executive director, Sam Annesley, said in a statement.

“If we are to achieve net-zero by 2050, we must massively increase Japan’s renewable energy capacity; with a target of 50% renewable electricity by 2030. Anything less than 50% and Japan risks falling short of net-zero, and more importantly, risks driving the world above 1.5 degrees as per the Paris climate agreement.”
The United Nations response

Despite the challenges Japan might face, the UN has faith in the country’s ability to achieve its goal. Furthermore, “The Secretary-General is very encouraged by Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide’s announcement of Japan’s commitment to getting to net zero emissions  by 2050, which is a very significant positive development, and hereby expresses his appreciation for Prime Minister Suga’s leadership,” declared the statement released by UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.

The statement also mentioned that “The Secretary-General has no doubt that Japan has all the necessary technological, financial, and engineering tools to get to net zero emissions by 2050.  He is confident that Japan will also assist developing countries to reach that same objective; including through technical assistance and its public and private financing for renewable energy”.

In brief, the world is finally catching up and taking responsibility for their actions concerning climate change. Perhaps now, we can start writing a new chapter filled with hope for our planet’s future, instead of fearing the worse.

References:

Climate action: UN chief encouraged by Japan’s 2050 net-zero pledge. (2020, October 27). UN News. https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/10/1076132McCurry, J. (2020, October 26). Japan will become carbon neutral by 2050, PM pledges. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/26/japan-will-become-carbon-neutral-by-2050-pm-pledgesMorton, A. (2020, October 27). Japan’s net-zero by 2050 pledge another warning to Australia on fossil fuels, analysts say. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/Australia-news/2020/oct/27/japans-net-zero-by-2050-pledge-another-warning-to-Australia-on-fossil-fuels-analysts-sayU.N. welcomes Japan’s net-zero emissions pledge. (2020, October 27). The Japan Times. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/10/27/national/un-japan-net-zero-emissions/Writer, S. (2020, October 21). Japan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to net-zero by 2050. Nikkei Asia. https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Environment/Japan-to-reduce-greenhouse-gas-emissions-to-net-zero-by-2050