JAPAN DIALS BACK GHG EMISSIONS GOALS

11/18/2013

In a move that could hinder efforts to reach an agreement at the Warsaw Climate Change Conference, Japan has significantly dialed back its greenhouse gas emissions goals. On Friday, the Cabinet approved a target emission reduction of 3.8 percent from the 2005 level by 2020—as opposed to the earlier goal of a 25 percent reduction from the 1990 level. Japan has faced significant energy challenges since the 2011 Fukushima disaster resulted in the shutdown of all the country’s nuclear plants, which had previously provided about 30 percent of Japan's electricity. With the loss of this energy source and subsequent return to a greater reliance on coal, oil, and gas, Japan has found its previous goal unattainable. Delegates at the Warsaw talks fear that Japan’s new target will make it more difficult to come to a meaningful agreement on climate change—particularly given Japan’s status as the world’s third largest economy and fifth largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. For the full story, see http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/16/world/asia/japan-shelves-plan-to-slash-emissions-citing-fukushima.html?_r=0 and http://www.boston.com/news/world/asia/2013/11/15/japan-dials-back-climate-change-emissions-target/KCs8ZPRLLxQk9AitDnAhQL/story.html.