Japan Forced to Reconsider Climate Targets Without Nuclear Power


Japanese officials say they may have to scrap long-term targets for carbon emissions reductions as a consequence of moving away from nuclear power in the aftermath of last year’s Fukushima disaster.

According to the Japan Times, government officials this week conceded that goals to cut carbon emissions 25 percent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels were “to a fair degree” predicated on the use of nuclear power.

“I have no doubt that an overall review will be necessary,” deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada said. Last month the nation shut down its last working nuclear plant more than a year after the Fukushima disaster made nuclear power unacceptable to many Japanese residents.

But considering that nuclear power provided nearly 30 percent of the nation’s electricity before the 2011 disaster, many predict the idled nuclear plants will trigger a rise in greenhouse gas emissions from an increased use of fossil fuels.

A report released earlier this week said that the combined electricity produced from natural gas, oil, and coal-powered plants from January to April was up 40 percent compared with the same period in 2011.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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