Japan says it won’t build any new coal power stations

An “open cut” coal mine in the Hunter valley, Australia. Japan imports around 60% of its coal from Australia (Max Phillips/CC BY 2.0)
Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida told the COP28 climate summit in Dubai that his country would no longer build “unabated” coal-fired power stations.

Japan is the world’s third largest coal importer and generates 28% of its electricity from it. It’s the second biggest source of Japanese electricity after natural gas. Altogether, fossil fuels accounted for 71% of Japan’s electricity in 2022.

“Unabated” means without any carbon-capture processes.

His office said Friday that Japan would make up for the shortfall in coal power by implementing “thorough energy conservation”.

Japan’s energy mix (Kaj Tallungs/CC BY-SA 4.0)

It would also “achieve maximum deployment of clean energy through making renewable energy as the main source of power, utilising nuclear power and other measures”.

The statement added that the world had to make a “course correction” if there were to be any hope of holding global warming to 1.5C.

Japan says it has already achieved a 20% reduction and is on track to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 46% by 2030.

Reuters reports that a Japanese foreign ministry official said the pledge will not apply to coal power plants that are under construction, and that Japan may build abated coal power plants should the technology emerge.

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