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Japan should abolish coal-fired thermal power generation completely, environmental activist Kimiko Hirata said in a recent interview.

Elimination of coal-fired power generation, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, is one of key topics at U.N. climate change talks taking place in Glasgow, Scotland.

Hirata is international director of Kiko Network, a Japanese nonprofit organization that won this year’s Goldman Environmental Prize, which is sometimes known as the “green Nobel Prize.”

Countries participating in the COP26 negotiations “should set out a path” to curb the average global temperature rise at 1.5 degrees Celsius or less compared to preindustrial levels, a goal set under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, Hirata said.

“Japan, a major emitter of greenhouse gases, needs to make an active contribution” to the fight against global warming, she said.

Hirata supported Britain’s calls on advanced nations to scrap coal-fired power generation by 2030 and on developing nations to do so by 2040.

The calls are “based on science,” she said. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the International Energy Agency are calling on advanced countries to abandon coal-fired power generation at that pace, she said.

Criticizing the Japanese government, Hirata said that “it has yet to indicate a policy of scrapping coal-fired power generation and has not shown an eagerness to discuss when to end” coal use.

“I wonder how the country would prevent climate change without facing the issue,” Hirata said. “(Japan) should abolish coal-fired power generation to achieve the 1.5-degree goal.”

The IPCC has said it is still possible to stop global warming, Hirata said. But she added that “the possibility would disappear if countries just continue with what they have been doing.

“COP26 is a really important opportunity for the world to gather force beyond national boundaries.”

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