The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

Japan Calls US Emissions Plan a Bold Step Away From Coal

Japan Calls US Emissions Plan a Bold Step Away From Coal

Japan said the U.S.’s proposed cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions from its power plants is a bold step to tackle climate change.

“There are many states that are dependent on coal power,” environment minister Nobuteru Ishihara said at a news conference in Tokyo after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released plans to cut emissions from power plants by an average of 30 percent from 2005 levels. “We hope the U.S. will make progress toward the EPA targets.”

The stance by Japan, which watered down its own targets to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, is in contrast to the European Union’s view that the U.S. must do more. The decision announced by the EPA in Washington yesterday is the most comprehensive climate-protection plan yet from President Barack Obama’s administration.

“All countries including the United States must do even more than what this reduction trajectory indicates,” EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said in a statement from her office in Brussels yesterday.

The EPA’s program starts to set in place policies the U.S. will bring to discussions this year of 190 nations on how to limit pollution after 2020. While it gives Obama ammunition to show that other nations also need to act, the limits set out by the EPA cover only about a third of emissions by 2030.

Climate Talks

Envoys to the climate talks organized by the United Nations intend to make an agreement next year that would apply to all nations instead of just the rich industrial ones.

Japan’s ability to deal with emissions is complicated by the shuttering of the nation’s 48 operable nuclear reactors in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima accident. Without nuclear reactors, Japan relies on fuels such as oil, gas and coal for almost 90 percent of its electricity generation, compared with about 60 percent before Fukushima.

Japan is the world’s fifth-largest emitter of carbon dioxide, according to the International Energy Agency.

A resource-poor Japan is pushing for the development of coal plants that emit less carbon dioxide. The country has been criticized for funding coal plants abroad. In April, when Obama was visiting Japan, non-governmental organizations requested that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discuss ending public financing for overseas coal power projects.

Environmentalists urge Japan to come up with concrete policies of their own.

Clean Energy

“With this proposal in the U.S., there will be various efforts to boost clean energy and energy-saving measures turning away from coal,” Hisayo Takada, a Greenpeace Japan climate and energy campaigner, said by phone today. “It will be damaging for Japan’s industrial competitiveness if wrong policies kill Japan’s opportunities.”

The U.S. plan may lead to more focus on nuclear energy, said Tom O’Sullivan, the founder of Tokyo-based energy consultant Mathyos. “It no doubt should be taken as a positive by the nuclear industry, the fact that this is quite an aggressive policy," he said by phone.

Australia, while welcoming Obama’s program, said countries will follow their own paths. The Liberal-National government in Australia, which has the largest per-capita fossil-fuel emissions among rich nations, aims to kill off the world’s highest emission tariffs brought in by the prior Labor administration.

‘‘We welcome constructive action to cut emissions,” the office of Environment Minister Greg Hunt said in an e-mailed statement. “Each country can play its role but no single model will suit every country. The U.S. is taking its own approach and we respect that.”

The U.S. achieved carbon cuts by boosting energy generated from natural gas, his office said. Australia has pledged to cut emissions from its economy 5 percent below 2000 levels by 2020. That would mean a 12 percent reduction from a 2005 baseline.

Copyright 2014 Bloomberg

Lead image: CO2 emissions via Shutterstock

RELATED ARTICLES

Gavel

Three Chinese Solar Panel Groups Lose Exemption From EU Tariffs

Jonathan Stearns, Bloomberg

The European Union applied tariffs on three groups of Chinese solar-panel makers that have been exempted from the levies, potentially reviving tensions in the EU’s biggest trade case of its kind.

Stock graph

Green Bonds Sprout as Wall Street Embraces Renewable Energy Debt

Cordell Eddings, Bloomberg Bonds backing clean energy and other sustainable initiatives are booming. Investors are snapping up green bonds at the fastest pace on record, as big banks like Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp. pile in with new iss...
Loss and profit binders

Yingli May Return to Profitability in Second Half, CFO Says

Justin Doom, Bloomberg

Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., a Chinese solar manufacturer that hasn’t reported income in almost four years, may return to profitability in the second half, the chief financial officer said.

Students and solar powered cars with energy storage

Rain or Shine, Students Keep Their Solar Race Cars Going with Energy Storage

Wayne Hicks, NREL Teegan and Kira Cordova love the original Star Trek TV series. That much is obvious. The eighth-grade twins from Ken Caryl Middle School in Littleton are wearing the uniform tunics from the 1960s show — Teegan's in red and...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 3
1505REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

PV-201: Introduction to PV Design & Installation

PV 201 Introduction to PV Design & Installation is simply the best i...

PV-301: Advanced PV Design & Installation

This highly desirable and advanced course is intended for the profession...

PV-401: Advanced Field Training

Real world on the job solar installation, training, and experience is th...

COMPANY BLOGS

Community Solar Solutions Appeal to Eco-Conscious Millennials

Tech savvy and convenience oriented, the millennial generation is the mo...

Building Rapport

How do you build rapport with your prospect? This is a question that I a...

Up to Bat – Why More Solar Companies Are Thinking Seriously About A...

Given the growth of the solar industry in the U.S., with 2014 year-...

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS