Japan’s carbon emissions drop to record low

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The 2020/21 level was the lowest since 1990/91, when Japan started compiling data on greenhouse gas emissions, according to revised data from the environment ministry

Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions fell to a record low in the fiscal year that ended in March 2021, government figures showed on Friday, due to a slowdown in industry activity in the amid the pandemic and wider use of renewable energy.

The 5.1% decline marks seven straight years of falls. Emissions for 2020/21 fell to the equivalent of 1.15 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from 1.21 billion tons the previous year.

The 2020/21 level was the lowest since 1990/91, when Japan began compiling data on greenhouse gas emissions, according to revised data from the Environment Ministry.

In April 2021, Japan, the world’s fifth-largest carbon emitter, raised its climate target, pledging to cut emissions by 46% below 2013 levels by 2030 instead of its previous target of 26%. If this target is achieved, emissions by 2030 will be 0.76 billion tonnes.

The 2020/21 figure represents an 18.4% reduction from 2013 levels.

“Although emissions have declined for seven consecutive years, we are still far from achieving carbon neutrality and we cannot be optimistic,” Masayuki Koiwa, a director at the environment ministry, told reporters.

“To achieve the 2030 target and our 2050 goal of carbon neutrality, we need to maximize the use of renewable energy,” he said. The ministry will especially promote solar energy to achieve the 2030 target, as this generation method can be applied quickly.

Japan’s emissions rose after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, which shut down nuclear power plants and increased reliance on fossil fuels, but have fallen since peaking at 1.41 billion tonnes in 2013/14.

Ten reactors have been restarted, the most since the Fukushima Incidentalthough only five are currently working.

Renewables accounted for 19.8% of the 1 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity generation in 2020/21, up 1.6 percentage points from a year earlier.

Nuclear power fell 2.3 percentage points to 3.9%, while thermal power accounted for 76.3%, an increase of 0.7 percentage points, according to Ministry of Health data. Industry.

  • Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell

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george russell

George Russell is a Hong Kong-based freelance writer and editor who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has appeared in the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes, and South China Morning Post. . .

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