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Carbon Finance

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Japan’s 2020 Emissions Target Under Review Following Fukushima Disaster

Japan’s 2020 emissions target is under question as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japanese officials have conceded.

"It is true that our reduction target will be affected significantly," Reuters reported vice environment minister Hideki Minamikawa as telling reporters on Sunday ahead of UN climate talks in Bangkok, citing Japanese newspaper the Yomiuri Shimbun. "The target year and the size of the reduction will be up for review."

Japan has pledged to reduce emissions 25% below 1990 levels by 2020, conditional on other industrialised countries making similar reductions.

Senior officials in Tokyo have been less direct, with Reuters quoting chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, the number-two official in Japan's cabinet, as saying on Monday: "At the moment, we have not decided whether to review the target and we are not at a stage where we can make a decision."

Last week, in the first official comment on the issue, environment minister Ryu Matsumoto said that Japan had no immediate plans to review its 2020 target. However, given that Japan’s emissions targets are dependent upon a substantial contribution from low-carbon nuclear generation, commentators have speculated that climate change targets would inevitability come under scrutiny in response to the earthquake, tsunami and ongoing nuclear disaster.

Meanwhile, Japan remains committed to its Kyoto Protocol commitment to cut emissions by 6% from 1990 levels over the 2008-2012 period, Takehiro Kano, director of the climate change division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Reuters.

Analysts in the carbon market expect that demand for Assigned Amount Units is set to rise, as Japanese utilities plug the gaps in their electricity supply with fossil fuel capacity, making it harder to reach the Kyoto Protocol target.

However, longer-term targets would become very expensive for Japan to meet if its nuclear fleet was substantially reduced in size, or kept offline for an extended period.

Source: Carbon-financeonline.com


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