Japan Announces Goal of Carbon Neutrality by 2050

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October 26, 2020

Japan, the country with the world's third-largest economy, has announced a plan to be carbon neutral by 2020. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga made the announcement in an address to his country's Parliament.

Japan has pulled back from a growing dependency on nuclear power in recent years, spurred in part by fears of a repeat of the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in the wake of a devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami in 2011. Japan has restarted only a large handful of its nuclear power plants since then, and concerns over what to do with a very large amount of contaminated water stored at the Fukushima plant still concern many, in government and out.

Yoshihide Suga

The country, which currently emits the fifth-highest amount of greenhouse gases in the world, plans to go ahead with the construction of new coal-burning plants in the next few years but still pursue an energy agenda that reduces carbon emissions. Suga, who took over as Japan's prime minister when Shinzo Abe resigned in September, offered little in the way of specifics for the plan. The country is known to be considering more of a focus on reusable energy, such and solar and wind power, and on carbon recycling.

China and the European Union (EU) have also made similar announcements recently, with China, the country with the world's second-largest economy, announcing a target of 2060 for carbon neutrality. The number of other countries that have announced such a goal has topped 60. (The EU has the world's second-largest economy.)

The U.S. has announced no such plan for carbon neutrality. has announced no such plan for carbon neutrality. The U.S., which was the world's largest economy, has announced plans to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. That is to take effect on November 4. U.S. President Donald Trump made the announcement in 2017. His election challenger, Joe Biden, has vowed to keep the U.S. in the Paris accord.

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