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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 February 10 - 16  > Environment Ministry gives approval to construction of more coal-fired power stations
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2016 February 10 - 16 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Environment Ministry gives approval to construction of more coal-fired power stations

February 10, 2016
The Environment Ministry on February 9 announced that it has decided to change its restrictive policy on coal-burning power plants to one giving a green light to constructing more of these high carbon-emitting plants. This announcement immediately drew criticism from climate change activists.

The environmental NGO Kiko Network states that 47 coal-fired thermal power stations are being planned or constructed in Japan and that these facilities combined will be able to generate more than 22.5 GW of electricity. In contrast with this situation, among many industrialized countries departing from coal, the United States has established regulatory policies on coal-fired power generation and the United Kingdom decided to stop using coal for power generation by 2025.

Coal emits two times more CO2 than LNG does if burned at a power station to generate a certain amount of electricity. Environment Minister Marukawa Tamayo in November 2015 said that Japan may fail to attain its CO2-reduction target if it keeps operating coal-fired power plants. The Environment Ministry also expressed its opposition to plans to construct five new coal-fired power plants in June last year.

Kiko Network director Hirata Kimiko criticized the government’s turnabout in its energy policy for contradicting Japan’s responsibility to combat climate change. She pointed out that the Japanese government should work for decarbonization as it endorsed the Paris Agreement which requires the international community to reduce the amount of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions effectively to zero by the late 21st Century. Hirata demanded that the Japanese government retract the latest policy change in order to maintain its international reputation.

Past related article:
> Japan’s plan to build 48 new coal-fired power plants contradicts global efforts to combat climate change [November 27, 2015]
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