The Fukushima nuclear plant disaster prompted Japan to shutter most of its nuclear power capacity, some of which had been damaged by the tsunami and earthquake that hit in 2011. Before the Fukushima incident, nuclear power helped Japan generate 20 percent of its own power. After the disaster, Japan only generated 9 percent of its own power.
There are 43 coal projects under construction or planned to be built in the coming years to make up for the loss of nuclear power capacity after the Fukushima disaster.
Environmentalists initially pushed for the country to use more green energy, but the variability of green power meant Japanese power operators weren’t willing to rely on them for baseload power. But with the growing amount of fossil fuels being used to meet energy demands, eco-activists are now pushing for Japan to rebuild its nuclear power capacity.
Japan has obligations in respect of promises it has made to the United Nations to cut carbon dioxide emissions. These promises are part of a U.S.-led effort to build support for a global warming treaty to be approved this December in Paris. It’s an issue President Barack Obama has staked his legacy on, and is using whatever diplomatic tactics he can to get other countries to join him.
Japan has either decided to defy Obama and break its promises, or else its discovered that with the application of modern technology coal can be burnt without releasing CO2. Sounds like the latter reason could be closest to the truth.
Tokyo argues that the projects are climate-friendly because the plants use technology that burns coal more efficiently, reducing their carbon emissions compared to older coal plants.
“Japan is of the view that the promotion of high-efficiency coal-fired power plants is one of the realistic, pragmatic and effective approaches to cope with the issue of climate change,” said Takako Ito, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry.
Good on the Japanese for putting reality before myth.