Greenhouse gas emissions in fiscal 2010 up 4.2%


Japan’s emissions of greenhouse gases in fiscal 2010 totaled 1.2 billion tons, up 4.2 percent from a year earlier, the Environment Ministry said in a recent report.

It was the first time in three years the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions had posted a year-on-year increase, ministry officials said.

Business conditions improved in fiscal 2010, which ended March 31, 2011, after being hit hard by the 2008 collapse of major U.S. brokerage house Lehman Brothers, pushing up emissions from the industrial sector, the report says.

The annual total represented a 0.3 percent decline from the base year of fiscal 1990 under the Kyoto Protocol and a 10.1 percent decrease if factors such as forest absorption of greenhouse gases and emission credits Japan bought from other countries are counted, the report says.

Under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, Japan is required to reduce emissions by an average of 6 percent between fiscal 2008 and 2012.

Emissions of heat-trapping gases were reduced by an average of 10.9 percent during the three fiscal years through the end of March 2011, according to the report.

But Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions could increase sharply in fiscal 2011 and beyond as most nuclear reactors have remained shut down in the aftermath of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, officials at the Environment Ministry said. The lack of nuclear power has pushed up the use of thermal power plants.

The officials said Japan can still achieve its requirement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 6 percent in the five years through March 2013 if appropriate action is taken.

The Kyoto Protocol cites six greenhouse gases as reduction targets, including carbon dioxide.

Emissions of energy-originated carbon dioxide in fiscal 2010 increased 4.5 percent to 1.1 billion tons.

By sector, emissions from the industrial sector, such as factories, rose 8.7 percent to 422 million tons, while those from the transport sector, mainly automobiles, went up 0.9 percent to 232 million tons.

Carbon dioxide emissions in the household sector went up 6.3 percent to 172 million tons because of an increase in power consumption due to summer heat waves and a severe winter.

Emissions from the office, shop and service sectors went up 0.5 percent to 217 million tons and from the energy conversion sector such as power plants up 1.2 percent to 81 million tons, the report says.