Japan set record for carbon dioxide emissions in ’95

Japan released a record amount of carbon dioxide into the air in fiscal 1995, the Environment Agency reported to a Cabinet meeting June 17.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto renewed calls for further efforts to curb the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions and demonstrate Japan’s leadership as it prepares to host a major environmental conference in Kyoto later this year. “Japan has been promoting various measures to conserve the environment both at home and abroad,” he was quoted as saying. “However, it appears it will be difficult to keep our pledge to curb carbon dioxide emissions unless we take further measures.”

He said energy-saving efforts must be made by all users, including industry, the general public and the transportation sector. Cabinet ministers discussed the issue, based on the agency’s report, to prepare for a special session of the United Nations General Assembly on the environment and development, due to be held between June 23 and 27 in New York.

According to the report, Japan released a total of 332 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions into the air in fiscal 1995, up 0.5 percent from the previous year. Although agency officials said the increase is only slightly higher than the 1994 figure of 330 million tons, the 1995 figure represents a 8.3-percent rise from the 1990 level.

Japan and other industrialized nations have made a nonbinding agreement to stabilize their carbon dioxide emissions at 1990 levels by 2000 under the 1994 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. The report also shows that per capita carbon dioxide emissions in 1995 stood at 2.65 tons, 0.1 percent higher than the previous year and 6.7 percent higher than the 1990 level.

Although energy-conserving technology is becoming more sophisticated, such developments are surpassed every year by an increase in energy consumption, the officials said as they explained the 1995 figure.