The: Earth is experiencing the hottest five-year period ever recorded. The kids are getting out on the street to demand change and hundreds of thousands of people from all around the world joined them for the Global Climate Strike. Such protests took place in at least five Japanese cities: Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya and Fukuoka. On Sunday Japan's new environmental minister, Shinjiro Koizumi, pledged to further energize the country's young people in pushing a transition from coal to renewable power.
The key? Making the fight against climate change "sexy".
"In politics there are so many issues, sometimes boring," Koizumi said at a New York press conference ahead of the UN's Climate Action Summit on Monday, according to Reuters. "On tackling such a big-scale issue like climate change, it's got to be fun, it's got to be cool. It's got to be sexy too.
"We are committed to realizing a decarbonized society, and we are ready to contribute as a more powerful country in the fight against climate change."
Japan is the world's third-biggest economy, behind only the US and China, and the world's fifth-biggest carbon dioxide emitter. In 2017 it emitted 1.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide, behind China, India, the US and Russia. The Fukushima disaster of 2011 rattled the country's push to replace coal power with cleaner nuclear energy, but Japan has committed to lowering greenhouse gas emissions by 26% below 2013 levels by 2030.
This is seen as insufficient change, though, since the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in 2018 that, to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, human-caused carbon dioxide output would need to fall by 45% below 2010 levels by 2030. A report released Sunday .
For those concerned about climate change, Koizumi has doubled the good news. As Japan's newly minted environmental minister, appointed earlier this month, he's keen to make Japan greener. He's also a rising star in Japan's politics, being the son of former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi. He's seen as someone whose influence will only grow in the coming years.