The pandemic-induced slowdown of work in almost all sectors of the economy has resulted in considerable reductions in Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions. Japan’s total CO2 emissions for 2020 are 1.149 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents. In the previous year, this figure amounted to 1.211 tonnes of CO2e: the decrease was as much as 5.1%. Last year’s result is the lowest since 1990 when measurements began.
Japan is the fifth-largest CO2 emitter in the world. In April this year, the Japanese government announced an extension of the climate package, thereby updating its previous targets, which had set a 26% reduction in emissions by 2030. The new guidelines assume significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 46%.
As Yoshiteru Sakaguchi of the Japanese Ministry of the Environment rightly pointed out: Japan does not intend to take credit for reducing CO2 emissions in 2020. This reduction was achieved mainly due to pandemics and production slowdown, not to measures imposed by the government. Yoshiteru Sakaguchi points out that Japan must significantly accelerate introducing new technologies and legislation to make the 2030 target realistic.
After the 2011 Fukushima disaster, Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions skyrocketed. The closure of a large part of the reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant brought fossil fuels back into favour. CO2 emissions continued to rise until 2013, when they reached 1.408 billion tonnes of CO2e, after which they fell.
In 2020, renewable energy sources accounted for 19.8% of all energy produced in Japan. This is an increase of 1.7 percentage points on the previous year. The energy mix that Japan wants to achieve by 2030 assumes a 36-38% share of renewables. 20-22% of energy should come from nuclear sources, a maximum of 41% from fossil fuels, and hydrogen and ammonia should give 1%.