Okada: 25% emissions cut goal probably unreachable

Kyodo

Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada has indicated the government may scrap an international pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020 because of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The reduction target “is a number computed on the premise that we will depend on nuclear power to a fair degree,” Okada told a Diet meeting Wednesday. “I have no doubt that an overall review will be necessary.”

Okada noted that Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s administration is considering setting a new emissions target given the radically “new” circumstances in Japan’s power industry, with all reactors idled due to the nuclear disaster.

“We will decide on a (percentage) at some point and convey it” to the international community, Okada said.

The pledge to slash emissions by 25 percent compared to 1990 levels was first made in 2009 by then-Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

But the nuclear crisis has shattered the public’s confidence in the safety of atomic power, forcing the government to start drafting a new energy policy and also — for now — shelve plans to build nine new reactors by 2020.

The emissions goal was premised on Japan’s significantly increased reliance on nuclear power.