The latest data about Japan’s greenhouse-gas emissions cast a serious doubt over the Japan’s commitment to its Kyoto Protocol efforts.
The Environment Ministry reported Japan’s emissions hit a record high of carbon dioxide, 8.7% more than what Japan spewed in 1990. The 1997 Kyoto treaty calls for Japan to reduce its emissions to 6% BELOW the 1990 level. Japan is going the wrong way.
Emissions grew 2.3% since last year, largely in part to the closing of Japan’s largest nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture because of an earthquake in the region. Consequently, Japan has had to rely on electrical output from thermal power plants, which are heavy CO2 dischargers. Japanese households have produced 8.4% more greenhouse gases than last year. The unusually hot summer led to increased use of air conditioners.
In the next five years they needs to cut its emissions by 13.5% to meet its commitment and Japan’s best bet is either to plant more trees or increase the capacity utilization ratio of its nuclear power plant, up from 60.7%. A ratio 84.2% (1998), and Japan would have coughed up 5% less greenhouse gas in 2007.
The economy, however, is slowing. As production falls, so too will emissions. Japan needs to cut 50 million metric tons, per year. The steel industry lowered its emissions last year to 1% below its 1990 level despite an 8% increase in crude steel output. The chemical sector is 7% higher than its 1990 figure.
Japan is not going to make it. So, now what?