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Climate Change Debate Lands in Japan After Fukushima


Debates are good, healthy, and after a debate there’s always a winner. Believe me, in climate change debate action will win, action against the worst environmental crisis of human history, action against a deadly enemy which kills 7 million people a year. Climate change debate landed in Japan after the tragic facts of Fukushima in 2011. After three years Japan is ready to move on (at least the government is). In fact, the Nuclear Regulation Authority vouched last month for the safety of two reactors in Sendai. Still, the proposal of the government depends more and more from the public opinion which is skeptic through nuclear.

And with April coal power plan, renewable energy seems very far away. There are interests in restarting nuclear reactors, higher than the safety of Japan people. In 2011, after the meltdown of Fukushima’s reactors, 160,000 people were evacuated and in Germany it was decided to shut down all nuclear plants by 2022. Still, 32 reactors will start to be operative by 2018. Local governments are trying to protest since if they approve the restarts and something happens they will be responsible.

Although, someone in the government is taking another direction. The minister of the environment said Japan must aim to get 30% of its power from renewable sources by 2030. According to IEA (International Energy Agency) Japan renewable energy share should reach 28.2% of total generation in 2035. So, considering that the prime minister has decided for a coal power long-term solution, it’s a good starting but not enough.

Another light sparkle in the dark of coal emissions: Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry wants to increase the budget to boost the use of fuel cells and install more energy-saving devices. The ministry is requesting $2 billion (an increase of 32% from the previous year). The budget for hydrogen-related projects has more than doubled and the ministry wants to use this money to begin sales of fuel cells cars. For clean energy, the ministry is asking an increase of 16.5%. The funds will be used for wind and geothermal research.

Also solar energy is seeing a bright future in Japan. Kyocera Corp. and Tokyo Leasing Corp. plan to build two solar power stations that are designed to float on the surface of reservoirs. The idea addresses the problem of the missing space in Japan for large-scale solar projects. One of the station will have capacity of 1.7 MW making it the world’s largest floating solar plant. The venture of the two companies is aiming to develop about 60 MW of floating solar. The energy debate goes on and, although fossil fuels have big supporters, a bright future expects Japan.

References from Bloomberg.com

In the photo the explosion of Fukushima.


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