This is a short follow-up to yesterday's post. Reuters reports today that Japan and South Korea stick to coal despite global climate deal.
Less than a week since signing the global climate deal in Paris, Japan and South Korea are pressing ahead with plans to open scores of new coal-fired power plants, casting doubt on the strength of their commitment to cutting CO2 emissions.
Even as many of the world's rich nations seek to phase out the use of coal, Asia's two most developed economies are burning more than ever and plan to add at least 60 new coal-fired power plants over the next 10 years.
Here's my favorite quote from the report.
Japan, in particular, has been criticized for its lack of ambition — its 18-percent target for emissions cuts from 1990 to 2030 is less than half of Europe's — and questions have been raised about its ability to deliver, since the target relies on atomic energy, which is very unpopular after the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant...
... Mutsuyoshi Nishimura, a former climate negotiator for Japan, said Japanese industry and the government had been caught napping by the Paris agreement and were "awfully reluctant to visualize the coming of the 'non-fossil world'".
"They were too caught up in the belief that industrialization and economic growth would entail such huge CO2 emissions in developing countries that China, India etc. would oppose any notion of decarbonization," he said.
To be sure, China uses vastly more coal and has nearly a thousand more such plants in various stages of planning and construction.
That belief those Japanese and Koreans were "caught up in" is correct! China and India will indeed oppose de-carbonizing their economies if such measures threaten further expansion of those economies.
But, in 2015 it is politically expedient ("correct") to go along with a toothless non-binding climate deal. So Japan and South Korea are guilty of totally misreading the global politics of climate change. They should have dramatically upped their meaningless INDC climate commitments and then quietly reneged on the deal later. That's what China will do. (India doesn't give a shit.)
And of course those INDCs don't kick in until 2020, so strictly speaking, Japan and South Korea are entirely within their "rights" under the Paris deal.
Oh, you ambition-lacking Japanese and Koreans — shame on you!