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Japan slashes: Forget a 25% cut in CO2 emissions, now the target is a 3% rise!

The UN will not be happy about this. The global movement is falling apart.

Japan, third largest economy in the world, and the land of Kyoto itself, has dumped their ambitious plan to reduce emissions by 25% by 2020. Now they warn that their emissions may rise instead.

Cabinet members said on Friday they had agreed a new target with an updated time frame, under which Japan would seek to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 3.8 per cent by 2020 compared with their level in 2005. Nobuteru Ishihara, the environment minister, is to defend the goal next week when he joins international climate talks in Warsaw.

Japan’s previous target used an earlier and more challenging baseline: 1990, the benchmark year for the Kyoto agreement and a time when Japanese emissions were lower. Compared with that year, Japan said in 2009, it would cut its emissions by one-quarter by 2020.

The new target announced on Friday represents a 3 per cent rise over the same 30-year period – a difference from the previous goal that is about equal to the annual carbon dioxide emissions of Spain.

Read more at the Financial Times

It is being painted as being due to the Fukushima reactor, which no doubt played a role. Japan used to get 30% of its electricity from nuclear power and those reactors are currently out of action (though some may be restarted soon). But it was not meeting the targets beforehand anyway and was already paying billions to buy carbon credits.

Japan 2006: “Japan is at risk of falling well short of its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, with fiscal 2005 combined discharges of all greenhouse gases having increased 8.1% from fiscal 1990 levels.”

“Achieving the target will be difficult,” says an Environment Ministry official (in 2006.)

Japan 2008: “Japanese households and businesses could end up paying more than $500 billion to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 11 percent over the next decade, the trade and industry ministry said Wednesday.”

Japan 2010: “Tokyo Electric Power Co (9501.T), Japan’s biggest utility, spent $229 million in the last business year on carbon credits, paving the way to achieve a self-imposed target to help Japan to meet its Kyoto Protocol commitments.”

Japan did warn people in 2011 that it might have to revise the target.

“Japan’s wealth has been draining out” due to buying carbon credits from East European countries and China, Mr. Nobutani said.

METI estimates Japan has paid as much as ¥800 billion ($10.4 billion) to buy 400 million metric tons of carbon credits.

Environmentalists not happy

Bloomberg: “Environmental experts say this can have a “devastating impact” on the ongoing climate change talks in Warsaw.”

“Su Wei, China’s lead climate negotiator at the UN talks in Warsaw, expressed ‘‘dismay’’ prior to Ishihara’s announcement after reports indicated Japan would scale back its ambitions.”

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