For more than 20 years, Kimiko Hirata has fought a long and often lonely battle against coal in Japan , but for the first time the climate activist believes the dirtiest fossil fuel is on the run, not just in her country but across the world. Like several other winners of this year’s Goldman environmental prize , the frontline campaigner sees a shift in the political winds that has created a rare – and perhaps final – opportunity to reduce emissions and rebuild the planet’s natural life support systems. This optimism is based on local victories that prove positive change is possible, along with global shifts driven by activists such as Greta Thunberg, Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election and a flurry of major UN environmental conferences. For a country like Japan, which is strongly influenced by external trends, this has created a sense of urgency that has been missing in the past. Kimiko Hirata has campaigned against the use of coal in Japan. Photograph: Goldman “This is a moment when international momentum is strong. Japan feels it has to be on board,” Hirata told the Guardian ahead of Tuesday’s Goldman award ceremony. As founder of the […]

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