Japan’s Ministry of Environment announced on Thursday they are setting new targets for greenhouse gas emissions, cutting back by the previously set target of reducing it by 25% by the year 2020 from its 1990 levels. Environmental experts say this can have a “devastating impact” on the ongoing climate change talks in Warsaw.
Nobuteru Ishihara, the minister for environment said they are looking at cutting emissions by 3.8% by the year 2020, compared to 2005 levels. This is due to the data they compiled, showing a 7% increase in Japan’s production of greenhouse gas, based on 1990 figures, which is what the government is using as its baseline. The new goal shows a 3.1% increase in the target, again based on the starting point of 1990. The targets were set under the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 accord that legally bound participating nations to cut greenhouse gases.
Naoyuki Yamagishi, WWF Japan’s leader for its climate and energy group says that the new targets can affect the “tone of discussion” at the United Nations Climate Change conference. “It could further accelerate the race to the bottom among other developed countries when the world needs decisive and immediate actions to ‘‘raise’’ ambition, not to ‘‘lower’’ ambition,” he said. But Ishihara said that the new targets are due to the fact that currently, all of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors are offline due to safety and maintenance checks to be conducted by the Nuclear Regulation Authority. To provide power to the country, utilities have had to switch to thermal power generation which relies on traditional fossil fuels like coal and gas but this will increase carbon dioxide emissions.
[ via Business Week ]