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Opinion
Noah Smith

Japan Needs Political Will to Meet Its Carbon Pledge

The government must regulate in favor of solar power, which is far more expensive than in other rich countries.

Japan has become a leader in floating solar plants, but these can be vulnerable to typhoons.

Japan has become a leader in floating solar plants, but these can be vulnerable to typhoons.

Photographer: Carl Court/Getty Images 

Japan’s bold pledge to cut net carbon emissions to zero by 2050 is very doable, but will require a degree of political will and coordinated, far-sighted policymaking that the nation hasn’t enjoyed for some time.

The government’s declaration comes as part of a wave of similar promises. In particular, China, Japan’s regional rival, recently pledged carbon neutrality by 2060. The European Union’s date is 2050, and presidential candidate Joe Biden has promised to commit the U.S. to decarbonizing by mid-century as well.