Japan and Korea buck trend and back coal power

The Japanese and South Korean governments are not to be deterred in going forward with coal-fired power projects despite the global momentum against fossil fuels witnessed at COP21 in Paris last week.

Japan believes its strategy of replacing old coal-fired power capacity with newer cleaner models is still the way forward.

Japan's Electric Power Development Co Ltd, the country's top thermal coal user, told Reuters the Paris deal would have no impact on its coal plans.

"Our stance on new coal plants is unchanged," the spokesman said, adding that emissions would be cut as ageing coal plants were replaced by new ones using the latest technology.
Isogo coal power plant
Between both countries, 60 new coal-fired plants will be added over the next decade.

Korea pledged in Paris to close four plants, but 20 are still planned by 2021, while in Japan, 41 new coal-fired power plants are planned over the next decade, and taxes favour imports of coal over cleaner-burning natural gas.

While both governments made no official comment, unnamed energy ministry officials told the news agency that there was no change in stance in the offing, despite agreements in Paris.

China is by far the biggest coal power generator but has reformed its gas price system to encourage a switch away from coal.

Last week world leaders in Paris agreed to aim for an even more ambitious target in reducing carbon emissions, with implications for fossil fuels. Climate finance to pay for developing countries to shift to low-carbon energy, and compensation for the effects of climate change, which was historically caused by developed nations, was incorporated.


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