(Bloomberg) — Japan ranks among the worst performers in an
index comparing the emissions of 58 countries and measures to
protect the climate, far below other major emitters like the
U.S. and India, according to a report by Germanwatch and Climate
Action Network Europe.
Japan came in at 58th, just above Australia, according to
the report. Denmark tops the list, though it ranks only fourth
since the first three spots have been left open, according to
“No country is acting enough to prevent dangerous climate
change,” the groups said in a statement.
Japan fell three places from last year in the index, which
was released earlier this week and looks at five categories:
carbon dioxide emissions level, changes in emissions from
different sectors, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and
“Its score worsened in nearly every category of the Index,”
according to the report.
Japan scored “very poor,” the worst category among five, in
terms of emissions, efficiency, and climate policy. “National
experts criticize the promotion of coal-fired power plants and
the lack of an effective and binding emission-trading scheme,”
according to the report.
“As Japan has had to rely on more thermal resources in the
aftermath of Fukushima, naturally its emissions have grown,” Ali
Izadi-Najafabadi, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance in
Tokyo, said by e-mail, referring to the March 2011 earthquake
and nuclear disaster. “Unlike the U.S. and Europe, it hasn’t
also aggressively come out against coal nor introduced long-term
ambitious renewables targets.”
The country has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
by 26 percent by 2030 from 2013 levels, a goal that’s been
criticized by environmental groups as too weak.
“We won’t comment on each and every activity of private
organizations,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said of
the report at a press conference on Thursday. “But Japan will of
course work hard on climate change and the measures we have been
taking are on a par with other countries.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. improved its placing to 34th from 46th.
“Recent positive developments such as the rejected
construction of a large oil-sands pipeline and efforts to push
international climate negotiations, send positive signals,”
according to the report, which ranked India 25th.
“Japan’s plan to increase coal-fired plants one after
another is regarded as a sign the country is backward-looking”
in tackling climate change, said Takako Momoi, who studies
climate change policy and manages the Tokyo office of the Kyoto-based environmental group Kiko Network.
“The country should take the results seriously as this is
how the world is seeing us and should push through further
policy change and a shift to renewables,” she said.
To contact the reporters on this story:
Chisaki Watanabe in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.org;
Maiko Takahashi in Tokyo at email@example.com
To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at firstname.lastname@example.org
Iain Wilson, Abhay Singh