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Push for ‘Zero CO2’ Emissions Threatens Japan’s Economy, Security

The large number of Chinese products connected to the power grids of several countries will allow more opportunities for cyber attacks.

Taishi Sugiyama

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Hurricane Laura, August 2020 (the image from ISS, photo by NASA)

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The issue of global warming was previously a minor topic discussed only among people concerned with the environment. However, over the past two to three years, the situation has drastically changed. The radicalized environmental movement has successfully taken over politics in Japan, the United States, and Europe.     

The environmental movement has become a massive power that is weakening the free world, stirring the rise of China, and becoming a threat to Japan. I would like all of those involved in the nation’s economy and security issues to be aware of the severity of the matter. 

So what exactly is happening? 

The Pitfalls of Green Growth

On December 25, 2020, the government unveiled the “green growth strategy.” The plan is to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, while balancing the economy and the environment. 

There are existing policies that are in accordance with economic growth as long as the reductions are limited to some extent — for instance, propelling digitization, the development of new solar power technology, and the use of nuclear power.  

However, the drastic aim to go completely carbon-free has a higher chance of demolishing the economy. The government says it will ban the conventional use of cheaper fossil fuels and mandate carbon capture and storage. Otherwise, it will be replaced by unstable renewable energy or cumbersome hydrogen energy. 

The government predicts that this will result in economic benefits of some ¥90 trillion JPY (about $858 million USD) annually by 2030 and ¥190 trillion JPY (a little over $1.8 trillion USD) annually by 2050. But it is clearly a mistake to regard the astronomical costs involved as economic benefits. 

Of course, huge investments in measures against global warming will generate sales for companies that were to take on such projects. However, this will weaken competitiveness among the majority of companies that bear the cost of their capital in the form of energy taxes, will put a burden on family budgets, and overall will deeply hurt the nation’s economy. 

As a result of the aggressive promotion of solar energy generation, an annual ¥2.4 trillion JPY ($23 million USD) surcharge has now become a burden placed on the public. 

Previously, the government claimed that this was part of the growth strategy and that it had economic benefits. If the same mistakes were to be made again, this time at a ¥100 trillion JPY (about $953 million USD) per year range, the collapse of the Japanese economy would be inevitable. 

As the Biden administration has come to power in the United States, all the free nations are now aiming for zero CO2 emissions by 2050. It is China that is snickering over this development.

Main Weapon of China’s ‘Unrestricted Warfare’

China has also declared it will become carbon-neutral by 2060. This is also impossible to achieve. Yet, it is a wise strategy with several advantages. 

First, China’s cooperation on CO2 can become a bargaining tool and reduce the international community’s involvement in serious issues such as human rights and territory disputes. This was also a trap that former United States President Barack Obama fell into. 

Second, with China’s involvement, it will become harder for free nations to back out. Thus, their economies will decline. 

Even with similar goals, the destructive force on the economies will be as different as night and day. This is because, although international environmental NGOs will exert their power, they loathe capitalism and will bring intense pressure upon businesses and governments in free nations. Simultaneously, they will praise the Chinese government and will not target Chinese companies. 

A weakened Japan will become more susceptible to succumbing to China’s economic pressures, as its voice will be suppressed and its territories threatened. 

Third, by bringing global warming to the table, China will succeed in making the divide within the U.S. an even more serious matter. In the United States, global warming is a partisan issue, and while the Democratic Party supports radical policies, the Republicans oppose them. Donald Trump is not an exception. 

For China, securing a position as a carbon-neutral country not only serves its purpose by deflecting international pressure, but also has the advantage of weakening free nations and intensifying divisions within them. In other words, global warming has become a core weapon in China’s toolbox of “unrestricted warfare,” where the idea is to leverage public opinion to gain strategic advantage. 

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In addition, China has the largest industries in the world for solar power, wind power, and electric vehicles. If free nations were to make huge investments, China will benefit greatly as the countries will become even more heavily dependent on Chinese supply chains. Furthermore, the large number of Chinese products connected to these countries’ power grids will also allow more opportunities for cyber attacks. 

Patriots, Raise Your Voices  

If carbon neutrality is aggressively pushed ahead, we will destroy the national economy and even endanger Japan’s freedom and security. Patriots must comprehend the severity of this concern and raise their voices. 

RELATED: Japan Needs All Hands on Deck as It Starts ‘30-Year Race’ Towards Carbon Neutrality

(Find access to the original Seiron article in Japanese at this link.) 

Author: Taishi Sugiyama, Research Director, The Canon Institute for Global Studies