Japan Scales Back Pledge to Lower Carbon Emissions

The two reactor's cooling towers are in action at the Golfech nuclear power plant, southwestern France, on November 27, 2012. 
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Clare Foran
Nov. 15, 2013, 1:38 a.m.

Ja­pan will be un­able to reach pre­vi­ously stated emis­sions-re­duc­tion tar­gets in the ab­sence of nuc­le­ar gen­er­at­ing ca­pa­city, the BBC re­ports.

Chief Cab­in­et Sec­ret­ary Yoshi­hide Suga an­nounced Fri­day in Tokyo that rather than aim­ing to cut emis­sions by a quarter from 1990 levels, Ja­pan will now at­tempt to lower them by 3.8 per­cent from 2005 levels, a sig­ni­fic­ant scale-back of the na­tion’s com­mit­ment to com­bat cli­mate change.

In the wake of the Fukushi­ma Daii­chi nuc­le­ar melt­down, Ja­pan has shuttered its nuc­le­ar re­act­ors and be­gun to rely on fossil-fuel power gen­er­a­tion in­stead. This, gov­ern­ment min­is­ters say, will now make it im­possible to cut emis­sions at the pre­vi­ously hoped for rate.

“The new tar­get is based on zero nuc­le­ar power in the fu­ture. We have to lower our am­bi­tion level,” said Hiroshi Mi­n­ami, a del­eg­ate from Ja­pan at the U.N. cli­mate talks in Po­land com­men­ted.

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