Japan Ranks Among Worst Performers in Climate Change Efforts

(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

the report.

“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

climate policy.

“Its score worsened in nearly every category of the Index,”

according to the report.

Fukushima Aftermath

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.

Coal Plans

“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 cwatanabe5@bloomberg.net;

Maiko Takahashi in Tokyo at mtakahashi61@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:

Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

Iain Wilson, Abhay Singh

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