Japan Beyond Coal (JBC) published newspaper ads in the morning edition of the Chunichi Shimbun and Tokyo Shimbun newspapers (December 24, 2022) and Asahi Shimbun newspaper (December 25, 2022), pointing out that the government’s Green Transformation (GX) policy moves in a direction against climate change countermeasures and calling for investment to be directed toward renewable energy and energy conservation rather than technologies that will not effectively reduce emissions in time.
Most developed countries have committed to phase out domestic coal power generation by 2030 and aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Japan has also pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and the GX Executive Committee under the Kishida Cabinet Secretariat has been playing a central role in discussions to achieve this goal, resulting in the “Draft Basic Policy for the Realization of GX” on December 22.
Although “zero-emission thermal power” is listed in the government’s GX initiative, ammonia co-firing at existing coal-fired power plants has very small life-cycle CO2 emission reductions. Relying too heavily on technologies that have not yet been put to practical use, and thus prolonging the life of coal-fired power plants that should be phased out, would run counter to climate change countermeasures. In addition, the Japanese government assumes that CO2 emitted during the production of fuel ammonia will be fully captured and stored (CCS). However, CCS still has technical, geographical, and cost issues, as well as storage limitations and risks of atmospheric leakage. Thus, the expansion of fuel ammonia or hydrogen use should not be promoted on the assumption that CCS is used. JBC is concerned that the GX initiative will support spending time and money on technologies that are ineffective at reducing emissions.
Currently, there are 169 coal-fired power units in Japan. In order to cut GHG emissions to 50% by 2030, and to achieve net-zero by 2050, the Japanese government needs to direct investments toward renewable energy and energy conservation, which are more substantial means to realize a decarbonized society than preserving coal-fired power through so-called “technological innovation” such as ammonia co-firing and CCS. JBC calls for Japan to phase out domestic coal-fired power by 2030 and to make serious efforts to rapidly shift to renewable energy sources.
Although the draft Basic Policy for the Realization of GX tends to focus on the maximum use of nuclear power plants, measures to support “zero-emission thermal power” will also have a significant impact on the realization of a decarbonized society in 2050 and on energy policy for the next 30 years. JBC hopes that our opinion ads will make people think about what a true “green transition” is: leaving a sustainable society for the future generations.
【Report】”Japan’s Costly Ammonia Coal Co-Firing Strategy”: BloombergNEF Analysis Report (Link)
Download newspaper ads from here（PDF）