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Following the abdication of Emperor Akihito, Japan announced that its new imperial era would be called Reiwa (“beautiful harmony”). But if the era is to live up to its name, the government must follow the lead of the country’s energy investors and utilities and begin to exit coal and move into renewables.

The choice between continuing to waste capital on environmentally destructive coal in the coming decades and ushering in a new era of clean energy that taps Japan’s huge solar and wind power potential should be a no-brainer. It has been shown time and again that carbon-capture technology is nowhere near where it needs to be to deliver “clean” coal power. Even with the most efficient coal plants, we would blow past internationally agreed emissions targets, with devastating consequences for the planet and human welfare.

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