Environment and energy ministers from G20 countries are meeting over the weekend in the Japanese resort town of Karuizawa. Ministers will focus on energy security, low carbon energy sources, plastic waste, marine litter, and innovation in these areas.

The meeting in Karuizama comes close on the heels of the attack on two oil tankers, one operated by a Japanese shipping company, in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.

The spotlight is on innovations in energy. Japan is focusing on hydrogen and carbon capture storage and use (CCS/CCUS). It signed agreements with the European Union and United States of America to partner on research and innovation in hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

Japan, the current chair of the G-20, is of the view that virtuous cycle of environmental protection and growth will be driven by the breakthrough innovations. Given this understanding, the G-20 ministerial on energy and environment is being gheld together and is being chaired by Japan’s Minister for Economy, Trade, and Industry Hiroshige Seko and Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada. At the meeting, India is being represented by power and renewable energy minister RK Singh.

Both the economy and environment ministers, Seko and Harada stress on the economic opportunities that innovation in and beyond technology would create. At the same time, innovations in energy sources such as hydrogen would yield positive results for the environment. In this context, Mr Seko said, “Japan strongly supports key technologies such as hydrogen, CCUS, in particular carbon recycling technology, which focuses on carbon utilisation.” The Japanese economy and industry minister said that he would like to work with G20 members in “an international collaboration in such areas that promote private finance, and business environment for deployment of innovation as three pillars.”

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Reducing and dealing with plastic waste, particularly marine plastic litter is another focus area for the ministerial. Innovation is central to addressing the issue of plastic waste as well. In this context, Japan is focusing on the development and use of alternative materials for plastic. The Japanese government has allocated 3.5 billion yen in its budget for this purpose.

Japan hopes that as the chair of G-20 it will be able to steer countries to work together and collaborate on research and innovations in these key areas, to ensure a virtuous cycle environmental protection and economic growth.





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