On May 26, 2021, a partial amendment to the Act on Promotion of Global Warming Countermeasures was enacted and promulgated on June 2, 2021. The amendment places 2050 carbon neutrality, which was declared in the fall of 2020, as a basic principle in the Act, and establishes a mechanism to promote decarbonization efforts using local renewable energy and the digitization and open data of corporate emissions information in order to achieve this goal.
The following three points in particular are considered to be the main points of this revision.
- Establishment of the basic principle of realizing a decarbonized society by 2050
The promotion of global warming countermeasures shall be carried out in close cooperation with the public, the national government, local governments, businesses, and private organizations, to realize a decarbonized society in Japan by 2050, while promoting environmental conservation and economic and social development in an integrated manner.
- Promote the introduction of renewable energies that will lead to the creation of local communities
The use of renewable energies is essential for the realization of carbon neutrality by 2050. On the other hand, there are some local problems with renewable energy projects, and consensus-building in local communities has become an issue. In order to solve these problems, a certification system for projects that contribute to the decarbonization of the region and the resolution of issues will be established in the local government action plans formulated by local governments, and the use of renewable energy will be promoted through smooth consensus-building by enabling one-stop procedures for related laws.
- Open data on corporate greenhouse gas emissions
Under the Act, businesses that emit a certain amount of greenhouse gases are required to report their emissions, which are then compiled and published by the government. By promoting the digitization of this system, we aim to improve the convenience of both the reporting and the users. In addition, by making disclosure requests unnecessary and encouraging the use of open data, we will create an environment in which companies’ positive efforts toward decarbonization can be easily evaluated.
Roadmap for the realization of a decarbonized society at a regional level
In order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, some regions are required to take initiatives ahead of others. This is currently being discussed in the “Regional Decarbonization Roadmap,” which has as its goal the creation of a hundred “decarbonized regions” by 2030. The following eight specific measures have been identified in the roadmap:
- Self-consumption solar power generation, such as roof-mounted solar power generation
- Locating renewable energy sources that can coexist with and benefit the local community.
- Thorough energy conservation and procurement of renewable electricity in public facilities and other commercial buildings, and induce ZEB conversion at the time of renewal and renovation.
- Improve the energy efficiency of homes and buildings
- Zero carbon drive (renewable energy x EV/PHEV/FCV)
- Transition to a circular economy through the advancement of resource recycling
- Decarbonized urban development through compact plus networks, etc.
- Improvement of productivity and sustainability of food, agriculture, forestry, and fisheries
The Japanese government aims to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 by taking these measures in some regions first and then spreading the successful models to other municipalities in Japan.
The “Draft Regional Decarbonization Roadmap” released by the Cabinet Secretariat on June 8, 2021, can be downloaded from the following link:
Corporate Initiatives for Carbon Neutrality
On the other hand, companies are also becoming increasingly aware of carbon neutrality. For example, on June 11, 2021, Toyota Motor Corporation, one of the largest manufacturing companies in Japan, set a goal of achieving carbon neutrality in its factories by 2035, instead of 2050. The company intends to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by adopting new technologies, mainly in the painting process at its plants.
Toyota Motor Corporation’s presentation materials can be viewed at the following link: