Climate change fight should be 'sexy' and 'fun', Japan's new environment minister says

Japan has taken little action on climate change, and its continued use of coal and promotion of coal use in other nations has been widely condemned

Japan's new environment minister says climate change fight should be 'sexy' and 'fun'

Japan's new environment minister, Shinjiro Koizumi, pledged on Sunday to mobilise young people to push his coal-dependent country towards a low-carbon future by making the fight against climate change "sexy" and "fun."

Koizumi was speaking on the eve of a United Nations climate summit in New York where activists plan to float a blimp showing prime minister Shinzo Abe emerging from a bucket of coal to protest Japan's pans to build new coal-fired power plants.

"In politics there are so many issues, sometimes boring. On tackling such a big-scale issue like climate change, it's got to be fun, it's got to be cool. It's got to be sexy too," Koizumi told a news conference in New York.

"We are committed to realising a decarbonised society, and we are ready to contribute as a more powerful country in the fight against climate change," he said.

Japanese students in Tokyo were among the millions of young people who took to the streets on Friday to express the fear and outrage they feel over the failure of governments to control greenhouse gas emissions, which hit a record high last year.

Considered a rising star on Japan's political scene, Koizumi, 38, became the third youngest lawmaker to join a post-World War Two Japanese cabinet when Abe announced a reshuffle this month.

The son of charismatic former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, he is regularly rated by voters as the lawmaker they would most like to see in the top job when Abe steps down.

Although Japan is not due to speak at the climate summit on Monday, Koizumi said he was in New York to learn more about the state of negotiations on global greenhouse gas emissions and meet clean technology companies and Japanese students.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has told governments they should only turn up to the summit if they came armed with more ambitious plans to cut carbon emissions under the 2015 Paris Agreement to avert runaway global warming.

Guterres has also urged governments not to build any new coal power plants after 2020 - setting him at odds with Japan, which is the only G7 country to be adding coal-fired power generation capacity. Japan's government and banks also play an important role in financing new coal plants elsewhere in Asia.

(statista)

Nevertheless, Koizumi said he wanted Japan to do more on climate, invoking his country's role in forging the Kyoto Protocol, a climate treaty agreed in the Japanese city of Kyoto in 1997.

"We haven't taken the strong action and powerful leadership since then, but from now on, from today, we want to do more," Koizumi said, without giving details.

Greta Thunberg pulls apart congressman's argument on climate change

Koizumi sparked controversy shortly after being appointed when he told his first news conference that he wants Japan to close down nuclear reactors to avoid a repeat of the Fukushima catastrophe in 2011. Isshu Sugawara, newly-appointed as trade minister, responded by saying it would be unrealistic to rid Japan of nuclear power.

Koizumi reiterated his opposition to nuclear power on Sunday. "I want to realise a society, a country, with no fear about the nuclear crisis," he said. "But it isn't easy, it's a complicated issue. But I'll try my best to reduce the nuclear power in the future."

Reuters

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in