THE government has plans for 22 new power plants, despite the climate risk. And as it happens, just beyond the windows of Satsuki Kanoo's apartment overlooking Tokyo Bay, a behemoth -

From a bygone era will soon rise; ''a coal-burning'' power plant part of a buildup of coal power that has become unheard for most advanced economies.

It is unintended consequence of the Fukushima nuclear disaster almost a decade ago, which forced Japan to all but close its nuclear power program.

Japan now plants to build as many as 22 new coal-burning power plants - one of the dirties sources of electricity - at 17 different sites in the next five years at a time when the world needs to slash carbon dioxide emissions to fight global warming.

''Why coal? Why now?'' said Ms. Kanno, a homemaker in Yokosuka, the site for two of the coal-burning units; they will go up just several hundred feet from her home. ''It's the worst possible thing they could build.''

Together the 22 power plants would emit almost as much carbon dioxide annually as all the passenger cars cold each year in the United States. The construction stands in contrast with Japan's effort to portray this summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo as one of the greenest ever.

The Yokosuka project has prompted unusual pushback in Japan., where environmental groups more typically focus their objections on nuclear power. But some local residents are suing the government over its approval of the new coal-burning plant in what supporters hope will jump-start opposition to coal in Japan.

The Japanese government, the plaintiffs say, rubber-stamped the project without a proper environmental assessment. The complaint is noteworthy because it argues that the plant will not only degrade local air quality, but will also endanger communities by contributing to climate change.

Carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is the major driver of global warming, because it trap the sun's heat. Coal burning is one of the biggest single sources of carbon dioxide emissions.

Japan is already experiencing severe effects from climate change. Scientists have said that a heat wave in 2018 that killed more than 1,000 people could not have happened without the climate change.

Because of the heat concerns, the International Olympic Committee was compelled to move the Tokyo Olympics marathon events to a cooler city almost 700 miles north.

Japan has used Olympics to underscore its transition to a more climate resilient economy, showing off innovations like roads that reflect heat. Organizers have said electricity for the Games will come from renewable sources.

Coal investments threaten to undermine that message.

The honor and serving of the latest global operational research on climate change and risks, state of the world, and solutions, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Hiroko Tabuchi.


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