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Japan wins 'Fossil of the Day' award after PM Kishida pledges to keep coal power at COP26

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during the U.N. Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, on Nov. 2, 2021. (Adrian Dennis/Pool Photo via AP)

GLASGOW, Scotland (Mainichi) -- An international environmental organization announced on Nov. 2 that it has chosen Japan as a recipient of its "Fossil of the Day" award after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated Japan will continue to use existing thermal power plants during the COP26 U.N. Climate Change Conference's summit meeting the same day.

    The Climate Action Network (CAN), a global network of more than 1,500 environmental NGOs in over 130 countries, bestowed Japan with the prize -- given to countries and others that have maintained a negative stance toward climate control -- on the grounds that Prime Minister Kishida has announced a policy to keep thermal power by relying on unestablished technologies even while setting forth a "zero-emission" premise. It gave two other Fossil of the Day awards to Norway and Australia.

    The network pointed out that whilst phasing out of coal-fired thermal power is a priority issue for this COP, Japan is going to continue using coal power plants beyond 2030, and that Prime Minister Kishida had deluded dreams that thermal power generation using ammonia and hydrogen can serve as "zero-emission thermal power."

    The network critically stated that the technology to use hydrogen and other sources in thermal power generation is still undeveloped and costly, and that such an attempt would jeopardize the attainment of the Paris Agreement goal of limiting the average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

    Alden Meyer, a senior associate of international think tank E3G, which is taking part in the COP26 conference, pointed out that hydrogen production requires energy, and that while Prime Minister Kishida did not mention the source of the hydrogen, if it is produced using fossil fuels it is problematic.

    (Japanese original by Mayumi Nobuta, Science & Environment News Department)

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