Japan’s CO2 emissions to hit record high this year

Japan’s energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will rise 0.7 percent to a record high in fiscal 2013, a government-affiliated think tank said Tuesday, predicting that an increase in thermal power generation and final energy consumption will outweigh a recovery in nuclear output.
Energy emissions will hit 1.227 billion tonnes this year, according to a report by the Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEE Japan) , the fourth consecutive annual increase and 15.9 percent up on 1990 levels.

The report said emissions are projected to decline 2.8 percent to 1.193 billion tonnes in fiscal 2014 as more nuclear reactors are due to come back online.

Utilities were forced to burn more carbon-intensive fossil fuels to produce electricity after the government shut down most atomic stations following the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Japan’s nuclear plants had supplied around 30 percent of the nation’s power before the decision, but 48 of 50 usable reactors are currently idled due to safety concerns.

IEE Japan said its emissions estimates assumed that the number of nuclear reactors in operation will rise to a maximum of six at the end of fiscal 2013 and 16 at the end of fiscal 2014.

CO2 emissions from energy generation, such as burning fossil fuels for electricity and consuming gasoline for running cars, account for nearly 90 percent of Japan’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

The government is later this year expected to announce a domestic target on greenhouse gas emissions to 2020. (Reuters Point Carbon)

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