Japan Japan

Japan retains its rank of 45th in this year’s CCPI.

The country receives low ratings in the GHG Emissions, Renewable Energy, and Climate Policy categories, but medium for Energy Use.

The CCPI experts welcomed Japan’s goal of reducing emissions by 46% by 2030 (compared to 2013) and the long-term target of carbon neutrality by 2050. The absence of a clear plan for delivering these goals, however, is an issue, with few concrete policies in place for meeting either target. Neither Japan’s GHG per capita nor its 2030 GHG target are aligned with a well-below-2°C benchmark, and the expected power generation mix in 2030 would still contain coal. The country plans to increase consumption of natural gas and create new hydrogen demand sectors, while meeting the targets may require continued use of nuclear power generation. Despite government support for renewable electricity, the share of renewables in Japan’s total primary energy supply is very low (and received a low rating for renewables). For Japan to meet its medium- and long-term climate goals, the experts recommended the country must introduce measures such as carbon pricing, increased investments in renewable electricity and grids, halting plans to build more coal power stations, and setting a coal phase-out date.

Japan’s international climate policy (rated low) is shaped by its continued domestic policies, particularly on coal and natural gas. Japan is a major economic actor, but on climate policy it is typically influenced by other nations’ engagement, especially the US and UK. Although Japan committed to net zero by 2050 before the United States’ Biden administration re-joined the Paris Agreement, Japan has pushed back on international efforts to phase out coal development and financing.

The following national experts agreed to be mentioned as contributors for this year’s CCPI: Kimiko Hirata (Kiko Network); Tetsu Iida (ISEP); Yuri Okubo (Renewable Energy Institute)

Technical note: how to read the target comparison graph

The graph above shows the development of a country over the past years compared with its Paris compatible pathway and 2030 target. For all three quantitative categories of the CCPI, this visualisation gives an overview of where a country is right now, where it would need to be to fulfil the Paris Agreement promises and where it aims to be in 2030.

For GHG emissions per capita, the data includes LULUCF, as used for the emissions per capita indicator. This leads to the vast changes in emissions of some countries with high forest coverage.
The calculation of individual country target pathways is based on the common but differentiated convergence approach (CDC). It is based on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” laid forth in the Framework Convention on Climate Change. All Annex I countries therefore have a decreasing pathway from 1990 onwards, starting at that year’s emissions. 60 years later, in 2050, these countries are expected to reach net zero emissions. All other countries, which did not reach the level of global average emissions in 1990, are allowed to increase emissions until the average is reached. But by latest 2015 these countries, too, have decreasing pathways and 60 years to reach net zero. These pathways start from the global average.

The Renewable Energy data is given in per cent of Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) and includes hydro energy, consistent with the respective CCPI indicator. As global distribution of Renewables (especially solar and wind) only started in the 2000s, the pathways in this category start in 2010. All countries have an equal goal: 100% Renewables in 2050, each starting from its 2010 value.

For Energy Use the Primary Energy Supply per capita is shown. All pathways for this category start at country’s 1990 values and meet at global average of 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES.
For 2°C and 1.5°C scenarios, a decrease in emissions by reducing the (growth in) energy use is as crucial as deploying renewable (or other low-carbon) technologies. The IPCC carried out a scenario comparison using a large number of integrated assessment models. From the scenarios available, we observe that the total amount of global energy use in 2050 has to be roughly the same level or a bit higher than it is today, with a margin of uncertainty. At the same time population will grow slightly between today and 2050. We therefore pragmatically chose the well-below-2° compatible benchmark to be “same energy use per capita in 2050 as the current global average”, which is 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES.