Japan, the world’s third-largest economy and one of the top sources of planet-warming emissions, will become carbon neutral by 2050, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Monday.
While Japan is not a significant greenhouse gas emitter, it ranks seventh globally. According to the US Energy Information Administration, that is still enough to make it a substantial contributor to the problem.
Suga’s speech marks a step-up from his predecessor Shinzo Abe, who had pledged to reduce emissions by 26% from 2013 levels by 2030, Reuters reported.
Abe stated that Japan will cut emissions by 26 percent below 2013 levels by 2030 while also supporting developing countries with $1.5 billion over the next three years to assist with their green initiatives.
The country has already taken some steps toward sustainability, such as reducing its coal dependence and increasing its use of renewable energy.
While it is still unclear how Suga plans to achieve this goal, he did mention that Japan will work on manufacturing carbon-free hydrogen and developing technology for carbon recycling.
Some analysts noted that although the plan is more aggressive than previous targets, it still falls short of what scientists say is needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.
The announcement came just days after China announced its own goal to achieve climate neutrality by 2060.
Mr. Suga made the pledge in a speech to a general session of the United Nations General Assembly on Monday morning and later in a meeting with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
In his speech, Mr. Suga noted that Japan was already working toward reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from their 2013 levels within three decades. But he said the country would go further.
The report includes recommendations for the power sector, transportation sector, buildings sector, and other sectors.