December 5, 2014
Thermal power reliance pushes Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions to record high
By DAISUKE SUDO/ Staff Writer
Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions hit a record high in fiscal 2013, as the nation’s reliance on thermal power generation increased in the absence of nuclear power, the Environment Ministry said.
The figure, equivalent to 1.395 billion tons of carbon dioxide, represents a rise of 1.6 percent over the previous year, according to the ministry’s preliminary report released on Dec. 4.
“We must push ahead, root and branch, with energy saving and the introduction of renewable energy as much as possible,” a ministry official said.
The ministry said more fossil fuels were burned to run thermal power plants needed to cover the shortfall in electricity produced by nuclear power plants. All nuclear reactors in Japan are currently offline in light of stricter safety standards introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.
The ministry’s report showed that greenhouse gas emissions increased over the previous year in the industry and operational sectors, which cover factories, stores and offices. However, emissions in the transportation and household sectors were slightly down.
Although the government has set a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in fiscal 2020 by 3.8 percent from fiscal 2005 levels, the fiscal 2013 figure rose 1.3 percent from the fiscal 2005 levels.
The previous record for greenhouse gas emissions in Japan was set in fiscal 2007, with a carbon dioxide equivalent of 1.394 billion tons.
Emissions fell to 1.234 billion tons in fiscal 2009, but they have since continued to increase.
For a comparison purpose, the ministry also calculated fiscal 2013 emissions if average emissions per 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity generated remained on the same level as that in fiscal 2010, when dependence on thermal power plants was much lower.
It found that Japan’s total emissions would have dropped by 147 million tons to 1.248 billion tons, a decrease of 9.4 percent from fiscal 2005 levels.