Japan struggles with Kyoto obligations

by William Yeatman on May 27, 2004

Yomiuri Shimbun reported on May 17 that, “According to an estimate by the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry, the amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced as a result of Japan’s consumption of energy in fiscal 2010 will increase by 5 percent over fiscal 1990 levels, despite anticipated progress in the nation’s campaign against global warming.”

The figures came from a report submitted to the Advisory Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, an advisory body to the economy, trade and industry minister.

The newspaper continued: “The latest report on energy supply-and-demand projections through fiscal 2030 was made taking into account the nation’s recent demographic, economic, and social changes, as well as potential technological advancements.  It revised projections made in a previous report, which said the country would see no growth in CO2 emissions in fiscal 2010.

“According to the latest report, Japan’s energy demand will reach its peak in fiscal 2021, after which it will decline. CO2 emissions are predicted to begin decreasing in the late 2010s. The report attributes all this to a projected reduction in the nation’s population and technological and other advancements in industry.

“But in fiscal 2010, the CO2 figure is projected to still be rising, meaning that it will exceed the 6 percent reduction promised by Japan under the Kyoto Protocol.  The projections state that the amount of CO2 emissions from the civilian and transportation sectors will increase 20 percent from fiscal 1990 levels, canceling out the predicted 7 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from the industrial sector.

“Recent changes in nuclear power plant construction plans are also bound to adversely affect the campaign against global warming. Initially, the government said it expected electric power companies to build 10 to 13 new plants by the end of fiscal 2010. However, it later lowered that number to four.”

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