The EU and Japan have agreed to form a “green” alliance

    03 Jun 2021

    The European Union and Japan will create a “green” alliance to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, European commission reports.

    Such agreements were reached by the countries during the EU-Japan bilateral summit.

    “Today we have reached a new milestone: the green alliance between the EU and Japan,” said European Council President Charles Michel on Thursday at a press conference following an online summit with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. “We aim to become leaders in climate neutrality by 2050, and this ambitious alliance will foster cooperation in many areas: the transition to renewable energy, business, regulatory cooperation, innovation, the environment and sustainable financing.”

    According to the press release of the European Commission, within the framework of the “green” alliance, the parties have already identified a number of specific vectors of cooperation, in particular in the field of “green” bonds, pricing for carbon emissions, hydrogen energy. UC reported that in the second half of 2021, the EU and Japan will sign a Memorandum of Cooperation in the field of hydrogen energy.

    However, the EU did not specify how the alliance could affect the interaction of the parties in the context of EU plans to implement the carbon adjustment mechanism (CBAM).

    (In December 2019, the European Commission adopted its Communication on the European Green Deal. The key measures envisaged in this context include the proposal for a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) for selected sectors, scheduled for 2021.)

    “Japan and the EU will expand their cooperation to bring our joint efforts closer to achieving our common goal of fulfilling the obligations of the Paris Agreement,” said Frans Timmermans, vice president of the European Commission, who is quoted in the release. increase this growing global drive. “

    However, Ursula von der Leyen said that although Japan officials are a like-minded people in the EU and “despite good progress in the partnership, much remains to be done.”

    The five priority areas for the Alliance will be:

    ·  pursuing a cost-effective, safe and sustainable energy transition by adopting low-carbon technologies, including renewable energy, renewable hydrogen, energy storage, and carbon capture, utilisation and storage;

    ·  strengthening environmental protection by promoting more sustainable, circular practices in production and consumption, and contributing to the global goal of protecting at least 30% of both land and sea in order to conserve biodiversity;

    ·  increased regulatory cooperation and business exchange to drive global uptake of low-carbon technologies and environmental solutions that will accelerate the global transition to climate-neutral economies;

    ·  consolidating existing collaboration on research and development in the areas of decarbonisation projects, renewable energy, and the bioeconomy;

    • and maintaining both parties’ leadership on international sustainable finance to help converge on a definition of sustainable investments and ensure consistency and transparency about sustainability-related disclosures.

    In 2019, according to the Nikkei newspaper, Japanese coal-fired power plants generated 32% of electricity. In total, there are 150 coal-fired power plants in Japan. The share of coal generation increased after the accident at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant in the spring of 2011. Prior to the accident, more than 50 reactors were operating in Japan, producing about a third of the electricity. Currently, there are only three power units at two Japanese nuclear power plants, which account for 7% of Japan’s electricity, according to a Statista report. The rest were suspended for inspections due to non-compliance with safety requirements.

    Peter de Pu, an expert at the E3G Climate Analysis Center, believes that Japan needs to abandon coal by 2030 to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

    In October 2020, Japan announced plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The EU has previously set a similar goal by adopting a corresponding European Green Deal strategy in December 2019.

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