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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 March 27 - April 2  > Japan may become biggest perpetrator of global climate change
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2024 March 27 - April 2 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Japan may become biggest perpetrator of global climate change

April 2, 2024

Akahata ‘Morning breeze’ column

The international community in 2023 accelerated the introduction of renewable sources of energy. Renewable energy generated by newly-established power plants exceeded 500 gigawatts, up 50% from the previous year, the largest growth rate in the past 20 years. China showed record growth with a 116% increase in solar photovoltaic-power generation and a 66% increase in wind-power generation. Europe, the U.S., and Brazil also posted record growth.

Even in ASEAN countries, where the introduction of renewable energy has been sluggish, signs of an increase have become visible. Vietnam is playing a leading role in promoting renewable energy among ASEAN nations. It now has an installed capacity of a total of 19 GW in solar and wind power. The share of renewable energy in Vietnam accounted for 25% of total electricity generation in 2023, which was more than double that of Japan. Nevertheless, the world needs to speed up the pace of the introduction of renewable energy by nearly three times to reach the 2030 goal agreed last year in the UN climate talks.

Japan lags behind the world in the introduction of renewables. Expanding solar power generation is becoming difficult in Japan due to the stagnant purchase prices paid by power companies for home solar-power electricity as well as due to ongoing problems with access to the power grid and the rapidly-increasing output curtailment of electricity generated by solar power. In addition, as for wind power, consensus building in candidate communities has posed a particular challenge. The root cause of the slow introduction of renewables in Japan is that the government wants to prolong the usage of nuclear and thermal power generation and focuses only on large corporations’ new technologies such as for hydrogen and nuclear fusion.

This year marks a critical point for the government in formulating the 7th basic energy plan. Without making a bold policy shift, Japan may become the biggest contributor to global climate change.
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