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During his first policy address to the Japan’s parliament today, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced that Japan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. He also mentioned that dealing with climate change is no longer a constraint on growth. 

Following is a statement from Helen Mountford, Vice President for Climate and Economics, World Resources Institute:

“Japan’s goal to zero out greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is a tremendous step toward limiting global warming. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is to be congratulated for this bold leadership. In order for Japan to demonstrate it takes this net-zero pledge seriously, the country must also set a much bolder emissions reduction target for 2030 than the surprisingly weak plan it put forward earlier this year, which failed to improve at all on Japan’s previous targets.

“Encouragingly Environment Minister Koizumi recently said Japan would aim to improve its 2030 climate commitment ahead of the COP26 climate talks next December. To chart a credible pathway towards net-zero it is imperative that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga delivers an enhanced 2030 target as well as firmly commits to end all overseas coal financing.”

“Japan’s long-term climate commitment comes on the heels of China announcing it will reach carbon neutrality before 2060 and a growing number of net-zero pledges from the private sector and financial institutions. This momentum shows that the transition toward net-zero is not letting up even as countries confront the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”    


To date, 20 countries and the European Union have set net-zero targets according to WRI tracking, and more than 100 others are considering adopting their own targets through the Climate Ambition Alliance. A growing number of companies are also committing to net-zero and interim science-based targets through the Business Ambition for 1.5 C campaign.

Recent WRI analysis outlines several critical design factors to developing a robust net-zero target and provides evaluation metrics to determine plausible pathways to reach a net-zero future.