Week 6 Japan
Lake Kawaguchi, Japan, photo credit to Steven Diaz, http://Unsplash.io
Welcome to the sixth edition of my weekly blog where I take a closer look at the policies adopted by individual countries in their efforts to meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement. Particular attention is paid to the role that Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) research and technologies are playing in the drive to meet these requirements.
Japan signed the Paris Agreement on the 22nd of April 2016, accepted it on the 8th of November that year, with it coming into force on the 8th of December 2016.
According to the European Commission’s research database EDGAR (Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research), Japan was the fifth highest emitting nation of CO2 into the atmosphere in 2014. UN Climate Change Secretariat’s greenhouse gas (GHG)emissions statistics for Japan in 2012 reports that the largest emitters by sector are energy (92%), industrial processes (5%) and agriculture (2%). Analysing the energy sector segment of the statistics in more detail, two-fifths of their contribution stem from energy industries.
In response to this, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) pledged to cut emissions by 26% (of 2013 levels) by 2030 as part of its 2030 power generation plan. Japan’s Federation of Electric Power Companies supported this pledge by agreeing to cut their own emissions by 35% (of 2013 levels) by 2030. In April 2016, Japan reported its lowest CO2 emissions in three years for 2014/15.
Japan is currently developing multiple Carbon Capture System (CCS) projects. In April 2016, the injection of CO2 commenced near shore at the Tomakomai CCS DemonstrationProject situated at Tomakomai port. This hydrogen production facility can process 100,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum.
Other notable projects domestic CCS include ‘The Eagle Project, a pre-combustion capture from coal gasification project (c. 9,000 tonnes p.a.), Saga City waste incineration plant (c. 4,000 tonnes p.a.) and Mikawa post-combustion capture pilot plant (c. 4,000 tonnes p.a.). Saga City and Mikawa are both backed by Toshiba corporation.
On the 25th of October 2016, it was announced that a consortium of Japanese organisations comprising Japan Coal Energy Centre, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., and Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Ltd. would come together and collaborate with the International CCS Knowledge Centre. This initiative, sponsored by Japan’s New Energy and Technology Development Organisation (NEDO), will focus on how Japanese technologies can potentially advance CCS and air quality control system at CCUS projects in Saskatchewan, Canada. Saskatchewan’s SaskPower is seen as a leader in the capture of carbon at its coal-powered plant at Boundary Dam.
Japan has made great headway of late towards meeting its Paris Agreement commitments by pledging to cut emissions by 26% by 2030. This has been achieved through political will, international collaboration and knowledge sharing, as well as financial backing from some of its largest finance houses. Japan must not rest on its laurels, though, given that as recently as 2014, Japan’s Ministry of Environment reported its second highest CO2 emissions on record. Time will tell whether or not the positive strides Japan has taken since this report will lead to lasting change in line with their Paris Agreement commitment.