Japan to dampen target’s ambition

The Japanese government announced it lowered its emission target for 2020 from 25 percent below 1990 levels to 3.5 percent below 2005 levels, according to Reuters Point Carbon. The new target actually amounts to a 3 percent rise from 1990 levels. Japan leaders said the backtracking is due to the shutdown of nation's nuclear plants in the wake of the 2011’s earthquake and tsunami, which wrecked the Fukushima facility. Nuclear energy had accounted for 26 percent of Japan’s electricity generation. Industry data shows Japan’s natural-gas consumption was up 8.4 percent in October from a year earlier and coal use was up 4.4 percent as the companies used more fossil fuels to compensate. "The new target is based on zero nuclear power in the future. We have to lower our ambition level," said Japan’s chief negotiator Hiroshi Minami at the UNFCCC talks in Warsaw, where Japan's new policy was widely criticised. Analysts by Climate Analytics said Japan could still achieve a 17-18 percent CO2 reduction from 2005 levels by 2020 even if it replaced nuclear with its current fossil fuel mix.