Rise expected in Japan’s emissions

Japanese government data is expected to show that the country's greenhouse-gas emissions rose last year, Reuters reported. The growth -- by 2% to 3%, according to analysts' estimates -- highlights the colossal challenge that Japan is facing in meeting its targets under the Kyoto Protocol.


Data for the year through March 2008, which may be released as early as this week, shows that emissions rose to around 1.38 billion metric tonnes. This is almost 10% above the 1990 levels mandated by the Kyoto treaty. Under the Kyoto accord, Japan must reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to 6% below 1990 levels by 2012.

Analysts attributed the gains to the closure of the country’s largest nuclear power plant. The rise comes after a 1.3% decline in the year to March 2007 to 1.34 billion metric tonnes. Japan’s Kyoto target is 1.186 billion metric tonnes.

The data is causing some developing countries to question reliance on voluntary steps to curb emissions by the fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. The figures also are likely to accelerate the Japanese government’s purchase of United Nations carbon offsets.
Energy-related carbon emissions account for nearly 90% of Japan’s overall greenhouse-gas pollution. Therefore, the total emissions from the last year are expected to be well above the 1.34 billion metric tonnes reported in the previous year.

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