Kimiko Hirata, who received a PhD in social sciences from Waseda University, has been picked for this year’s Goldman Environmental Prize.
The prize, known as the “Green Nobel,” it honors those who have worked to protect and enhance the natural environment. Six recipients are picked every year from each of the world’s inhabited continental regions. She is the third Japanese national to win the prize, and the first in 23 years. She is also the first Japanese woman to receive the honor.
After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of 2011, Japan was forced to move away from nuclear power and, in its place, embraced coal as a major energy source. Over the past several years, her grassroots campaign led to the cancellation of 13 coal power plants (7GW or 7,030MW) in Japan. These coal plants would have released more than 1.6 billion tons of CO2 over their lifetimes. The carbon impact of Hirata’s activism is the equivalent of taking 7.5 million passenger cars off the road every year for 40 years.
She wrote her doctoral dissertation “Climate Change and Politics – Climate Policy Integration in Japan -” at the Graduate School of Social Sciences, Waseda University, and obtained a doctoral degree.
Kimiko Hirata has led policy work at Kiko Network in the areas of international and national climate and energy since she joined the organization in 1998, and has been engaged with UNFCCC processes for 20 years. She has experience in research, advocacy, and managing an NGO network. In the last few years, she has led a coal project team to fight domestic coal expansion and international coal finance. In 2020, she led work on a climate shareholder resolution targeting Mizuho Financial Group, the first of its kind in Japan, achieving 34.5% support from shareholders. She serves as a representative of CAN-Japan, part of the global NGO network. She has co-authored several books, including “Toward a Nuclear Free and Climate Safe Society” and “Understanding the Issue of Climate Change” (both in Japanese). She has a PhD in social sciences from Waseda University in Tokyo. Born in Kumamoto, Japan in 1970, she now lives in Tokyo with her husband, son and daughter.
<The Goldman Environmental Prize>