Will Japan Lead a Green Future?

Japan is targeting the 2050 deadline for carbon neutrality in pursuit of a green future.

The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou

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The Asian country wants to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga set the goal. Tokyo had previously only aimed to achieve this sometime in the second half of the century. However, the country is still heavily dependent on coal. Mr. Suga did not give a precise timeline on how Japan will achieve the goal but said that technology would be essential.

Tokyo is the largest megacity in the world. Thirty-seven million people live there. Its size does not prevent the Tokyo government from achieving lofty environmental goals. A big part of the reason leaders think the city can cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 is people.

The Tokyo government's plan is to become the most sustainable megacity in the world. Yōichi Masuzoe, a former governor of Tokyo, told Al Jazeera English that cities and developing countries need to spend money on environmental projects. If they don't, it will cost a lot more in the long run.

In just 14 years, the Tokyo government wants 200,000 hydrogen vehicles on city streets and 150 hydrogen refueling stations. Right now, there are only 13 ambitious goals for this technology that is just getting started.

To boost those numbers, city government leaders are offering consumers cash initiatives to buy hydrogen cars and companies to build gas stations. The city plans to reduce energy consumption by 38 percent by 2030, drawing one-third of its electricity supply from renewable sources.

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The Tokyo government has a long history of strong leadership since 1990. Since then, they were determined to implement good climate policies.

In his first political speech since taking office, Suga said that "global warming measures are no longer obstacles to economic growth, but would lead to industrial and socio-economic reforms and significant growth. We need to change our mindset."

According to the CNA, "Japan is one of the world's largest greenhouse gas emitters. The government had previously only committed to becoming carbon neutral sometime in the second half of the century. Japan is heavily dependent on coal. That got worse after some reactors were shut down after the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster. "

Mr. Suga says Japan will invest more in research on recycled coals and wind power, but other than that, he did not expose specific officials. The prime minister assured that they would have a more detailed plan by the end of the year.

Critics note that this is a goal that may be elusive, and there are concerns that it may be a bit too ambitious for Japanese coal-dependent society. Japan would have to have half of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 for this to happen.

Ambitious but not entirely unattainable. Also, some policies should go into effect very soon. As for the reaction of the citizens of the country, people have been watching because this was Suga's opportunity to show that he is a leader apart from former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who recently overcame health problems. The promise to make Japan carbon neutral by 2050 was his central speech.

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