An international environmental group gave Japan the thumbs down with its "fossil" award again on Sunday, criticizing the country for placing emphasis on coal-fired power despite its pledge to "contribute to global decarbonization."

The dud award is given to countries seen as backwards in addressing climate change threats by the Climate Action Network at the venue of the U.N. climate change conferences. Japan was also the recipient in 2019, 2021 and 2022.

It also gave the award to the United States and New Zealand at the ongoing COP28 being held in Dubai.

A mock awards ceremony in which Japan was named as recipient of the "fossil" award is held at the venue of the COP28 U.N. climate change conference in Dubai on Dec. 3, 2023. (Kyodo)  

The Japanese government is promoting technology to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in thermal power generation by mixing ammonia with fuel.

At the conference, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in his speech Friday that Tokyo is working with countries in Southeast Asia to pursue transformation to clean energy.

"It's clear that this is nothing more than greenwashing of hydrogen and ammonia co-firing with fossil fuels, which would keep thermal power plants running far into the future," the nongovernmental organization said in a statement.

"This push to lock in fossil fuel-based energy across the continent is delaying the transition from fossil fuels to renewables, adding hurdles to achieving the global goal of tripling renewables," it added.

Resource-poor Japan has been highly dependent on imports of fossil fuels such as coal and crude oil since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, with many of its nuclear power plants remaining idle.

A mock awards ceremony took place at the COP28 venue and the award is presented several times during the climate conference.

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