Japan to stop building 'unabated' coal plants: PM

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has vowed to stop building new coal-fired power plants that lack measures to cut carbon emissions.

The announcement was made at the UN's COP 28 climate summit in Dubai, as Japan, heavily reliant on imported coal and other fossil fuels, aims to become carbon-neutral by 2050.

"In line with its pathway to net-zero, Japan will end new construction of domestic unabated coal power plants, while securing a stable energy supply," Kishida said on Friday, according to a transcript of his speech released by Japan's foreign ministry.

The goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 is shared by G7 members except Germany, which has a more ambitious 2045 deadline.

Kishida added Japan has already cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent, and is making progress toward the goal of a 46-percent reduction by 2030 from 2013 levels.

To reduce carbon emissions, Japan is promoting the use of hydrogen and its derivative ammonia by burning it alongside gas and coal at existing power stations.

Experts remain sceptical, however.

Leo Roberts a researcher at climate think tank E3G, said the change was a "backdoor" to increasing the lifespan of the existing "fossil fuel infrastructure".

He added that the ammonia itself needs to be produced, "which is a whole other industry and that requires electricity to do so."

The government has also said it will restart more of Japan's nuclear reactors.

After a tsunami caused a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March 2011, Japan halted all its nuclear reactors to review and strengthen safety controls.

That left the country highly dependent on imported fossil fuels -- especially natural gas, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of Japan...

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