Tokyo (AFP)

Japan, the world's third-largest economy, unveiled on Friday a roadmap to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, through increasing the share of renewable energies and reducing the cost of batteries for electric vehicles.

This is the first time that the country, whose energy production depends heavily on fossil fuels, details how it intends to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the middle of the 21st century, as the 'Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced on October 26.

This "green growth strategy", posted on the website of the Ministry of the Economy, Trade and Industry (Meti), sets in particular as "indicative objective" that 50 to 60% of the country's electricity come from renewable energies by then.

By comparison, Japan's latest energy plan, in 2018, set a target of 22-24% by 2030, up from around 17% in 2017.

The government believes a "significant change" in mentality is needed to understand that "policies that take into account the environment are not a brake, but an engine of growth," government spokesman Katsunobu Kato told Friday. the press.

To achieve a "carbon neutral society, not only industry, but also all of Japan, including the public sector and each of you, must do your best," he added.

The government has also announced that it is also counting on 30 to 40% of the electricity supply provided by nuclear and thermal power plants (equipped with CO2 capture systems).

The remaining 10% would be produced from hydrogen and ammonia.

Japan estimates that its national electricity consumption will increase by 30-50% by 2050.

To meet this demand, the government wishes in particular to develop offshore wind power, Japan having set a production target of 45 gigawatts this month by 2040, a gigantic leap from 0.02 current gigawatt.

Along with its intention announced in early December to ban the sale of new gasoline or diesel vehicles by the mid-2030s, the government also wants a 50% reduction in the cost of batteries for electric vehicles over the next ten years.

The announcements are supposed to send a strong message to the industrial sector about the government's desire to promote green growth and encourage private sector investment in this direction, Japanese media reported.

The figures unveiled are however "a bad starting point for discussions" and signal "a lack of ambition," said Mika Ohbayashi, director of the Institute of Renewable Energies in Tokyo.

Japan should instead set itself a 2030 horizon to achieve its goal of 50 to 60% electricity from renewables, according to the organization.

She also considers that betting on the generalization of CO2 capture technologies in the coming decades is a mistake.

Japan was the fifth largest CO2 emitting country in 2019, according to data from the online platform Global Carbon Atlas.

© 2020 AFP