Climate targets blown in Japan

01 August 2013

Carbon dioxide intensity from Japan's electricity industry climbed again in FY2012, reaching levels 39% greater than when the country's nuclear reactors were operating normally, and taking the sector far beyond climate targets.

Government buildings, Tokyo (Guwashi999) 460x161
Government buildings in energy-hungry Tokyo (Image: Guwashi999)

The Fukushima accident occurred in mid-March 2011, just three weeks before the end of FY2010. During that period the country's power stations produced an average of 350 grams of CO2 for each kWh of electricity generated, but over the course of the next year Japan's reactors shut down one-by-one for inspection and were not allowed to restart. This caused power companies use imported fossil fuels instead, with the result that carbon intensity rose to 476 gCO2 per kWh in FY2011 - an increase of 36%.

The rising trend continued through FY2012, according to figures released yesterday by the Federation of Electric Power Companies (Fepco). Carbon intensity now stands at 487 gCO2 per kWh, some 39% above FY2010 levels.

Among Japan's climate change goals was for the electricity sector to reduce carbon intensity by 20% from 1990 levels, to 334 gCO2 per kWh on average over the five years from 2008 to 2012.

During the first three years of this period Japan was 7% above its target at 358 gCO2 per kWh, but the surge of fossil fuel use in 2011 and 2012 pushed the five year average to 406 gCO2 per kWh, some 22% over the target. Carbon intensity in FY2012 was actually 17% above 1990 levels.

In absolute terms, the Japanese electricity sector emitted 415 million tonnes of CO2 in FY2012 and 409 million tonnes in FY2011. These compare to the previous three years' emissions of 332, 301 and 317 million tonnes. The extra 100 million tonnes of CO2 comes on top of Japan's usual annual emissions of about 1250 million tonnes.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News