Japanese government proposes cutting greenhouse gas emissions up to a quarter before 2030

TOKYO – Japan is proposing to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by up to 26 per cent by 2030 amid international efforts to set a new framework for addressing climate change.

The final draft of the government target, released Thursday, said Japan will aim to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 26 per cent by 2030 compared to 2013 levels, or 25.4 per cent from 2005 levels.

That is below the U.S. target of a 26-28 per cent cut by 2025 from 2005 levels, and the European Union’s target of 40 per cent from 1990 levels, or 35 per cent from 2005.

Critics say Japan’s targets are too modest.

The government is to formally endorse the target after reviewing public comments and experts’ views.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to announce Japan’s emissions reduction targets in June at the Group of Seven summit in Germany.

A new international framework replacing the 1997 Kyoto Protocol is to be discussed at a conference later this year. The Kyoto protocol has been largely ineffective because major emitting countries such as China, the U.S. and Japan are not legally committed to cuts.

Japan has delayed submission of its new reduction targets as the country is still finalizing its long-term energy mix following the 2011 nuclear crisis in Fukushima. All Japan’s nuclear reactors are offline due to the disaster and the country is using more coal for its energy needs.