The powerful Keidanren business lobby is dominated by energy-intensive sectors that make up less than 10% of the economy, resulting in national policies that favor coal and hamper attempts to tackle climate change, according to a new study.
Influence from Japan’s electricity, steel, cement, automotive and fossil fuel sectors is undermining its attempts to meet its Paris Agreement commitments, according to the analysis firm’s report London-based InfluenceMap database.
Keidanren, who has close ties with the Ministry of Trade and Industry as well as other government agencies, sits on expert groups and other forums where government policies are debated. He has acted as a “central negotiating point” on climate policy for two decades, according to the report.
Although she claims to represent all affairs of the nation, that claim “should clearly be challenged on climate / energy policy,” said InfluenceMap. He added that the most powerful industries within Keidanren, also known as the Japan Business Federation, employ only around 2.7 million, while those with little influence employ 10 times as many.
Lobbying and consultation with business groups will be essential next year when the government revises its strategic energy plan.
Keidanren’s influence was seen last year when he argued that a proposed government target of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050 was “extremely ambitious” and prompted any new target to be a “vision,” said InfluenceMap.
Japan then adopted the goal of achieving carbon neutrality as soon as possible in the second half of this century, rather than an explicit emissions target for 2050.
Keidanren said in a statement to Reuters he could not comment on the study because he had not yet officially received a copy. But he added that he had made political commitments to a low-carbon society and that the government’s climate goals were in line with the goals of the Paris agreement.
InfluenceMap noted that other groups in Japan that have prominent companies in the retail, finance, tech and construction sectors as members – such as the Japan Climate Initiative and the Japan Climate Leaders’ Partnership – have strongly criticized the government’s efforts on climate change.
The results of the study are “mostly consistent with my personal experience as a decision maker in Japan to negotiate the Kyoto Protocol and develop national legislation,” Hikaru Kobayashi, deputy environment minister of Japan, told Reuters. July 2009 to January 2011.
“What surprises me is that this remains the same today.”
Japan’s coal consumption reached record levels in the years following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 which shut down most of the country’s reactors.
Japan is also the only G7 country to work on a major deployment of coal-fired power, with companies planning to build around 20 new coal-fired power plants with a total capacity of around 12,000 megawatts, by a decade, according to a Reuters survey last year.
Coal now generates 32% of the country’s electricity, although the government wants that proportion to drop to 26% and renewables to rise to 22-24%, from around 18% currently by 2030.
Using government statistics, InfluenceMap ranked industry sectors by economic importance, then assessed the influence of industry associations both within Keidanren and outside Keidanren.
He chose 50 groups for the study, ranking them using two metrics: a group’s support for climate policies that meet the Paris targets, and the intensity with which a group engages with it. government on climate policy.
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