Japan's CO2 Emissions Fall 3% to 3-year low in FY2014

By Reuters
November 26,2015
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Factories at an industrial zone are seen from Haneda airport in Tokyo January 17, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer/Files

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's greenhouse gas emissions fell 3% to a three-year low in the fiscal year ended March due to reduced power demand and growing renewable energy, preliminary government figures showed on Thursday.

Emissions fell for the first time in five years to 1.365 billion metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent, according to Ministry of Environment data. That was down 2.2% from 2005 and up 7.5% from 1990.

Japan's emissions had been rising after the 2011 Fukushima disaster that led to the closure of nuclear power plants and an increased reliance on coal. The world's fifth-biggest carbon emitter, Japan set a goal in July to cut its emissions by 26% by 2030 from 2013 levels.

The reduction in the latest year followed power saving and billions of dollars of clean-energy investments in the the wake of Fukushima, the ministry said.

France will host talks among almost 200 nations from Nov. 30-Dec. 11 to agree a plan to limit climate change beyond 2030.

Two of Japan's dozens of commercial reactors have been restarted during the last few months, marking the nation's first nuclear power generation since September 2013.

An expected gradual restart of reactors from next year and growing renewable power would likely reduce the nation's energy-originated CO2 emissions for a third straight year to 1.149 billion tonnes in fiscal 2016 from a record 1.235 billion tonnes in 2013, the Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEEJ) said.

Anxious to cut fuel bills, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants atomic power to account for 20-22% of the country's energy mix by 2030, but the goal is widely seen as unrealistic, and opposition to nuclear power remains widespread.

(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Richard Pullin)