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Source: www.asiaecon.org |

JAPAN INCREASES EFFORTS TO MEET ITS 2012 KYOTO PROTOCOL GOALS


As a heavily industrialized country, Japan has often struggled to reduce its CO2 emission levels in order to meet the objectives under the Kyoto Protocol. While Japan has pledged to reduce emission by 6%  between 2007-2012 and 25-40% by 2020, the country has experienced an actual increase of 8.7% in greenhouse emissions from 1990 to 2008. Thus forcing Japan to buy CO2 credits from abroad and significantly investing in alternative energy innovations in order to meet its target in 2012. These measures will not only be beneficial to the environment, but would also boost Japan's economy as it taps into the growing global market of alternative fuels.




As a heavily industrialized country, Japan has often struggled to reduce its CO2 emission levels in order to meet the objectives under the Kyoto Protocol. While Japan has pledged to reduce emission by 6%  between 2007-2012 and 25-40% by 2020, the country has experienced an actual increase of 8.7% in greenhouse emissions from 1990 to 2008. Thus forcing Japan to buy CO2 credits from abroad and significantly investing in alternative energy innovations in order to meet its target in 2012. These measures will not only be beneficial to the environment, but would also boost Japan’s economy as it taps into the growing global market of alternative fuels.
   
Under the Kyoto Protocol, 36 developed countries are required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a certain level. These countries must reduce their emissions to below the emissions cap or participate in emissions trading to compensate for going over the cap. If a country exceeds the cap, they must buy credits from countries that are under their cap.

Japan’s most recent deal is set to be concluded by March 31st  and includes the acquisition of 30 million tons of greenhouse gases from Ukraine. The transaction is estimated to cost over 30 billion yen ($305 million). Ukraine will benefit from the deal as it is already projected to release fewer green house gases than the amount permitted by the Kyoto protocol in the five years ending 2012. 

Japan, which has to buy at least 100 million tons of credit per year to meet its Kyoto protocol target,  has been making similar deals with Hungary, Poland, Russia and the Czech republic. 

Moreover, the country’s electric power industry has unveiled plans to purchase around 500 million tons of CO2 emission credits from abroad  until 2012.  Japan relies heavily on its electric power sector to meet its goals for the Kyoto Protocol, as the sector is responsible for 80% of the total increase in emissions since 1990.

In February, Japan’s Chubu Electric Power Co. signed a contract to purchase 9.4 million tons in CO2 credits from China over four years. The deal, estimated anywhere between 10 billion and 20 billion yen, will potentially decrease the company’s CO2 emissions by 20% during 2008-2012. 

Even though the country plans to buy significant amounts of greenhouse emission credits, Japan has also unveiled plans to improve its alternative energy use in the  following years. Investing in cleaner energy would help Japan to reduce its dependency on imported energy and  reduce its domestic levels of CO2 emissions. The development and production of alternative energy, would also allow Japan to tap into the growing global market for cleaner energy, providing a boost for the  country’s currently slumping economy.

Japan is the leading force behind research and development on various solar technology innovations.  The country aims to have more than 70% of newly built houses equipped with solar panels by 2020 as the government expects to reach 5GW of solar generation capacity by 2010. 

Japan already produces more than half of the total solar cells in the world of which 30% are exported. With increasing global need for alternative energy, Japan expects a  20% increases of solar cell exports per year.

 Although not as popular as solar energy, wind power has become an increasingly common energy generator in the country with over 1,300   wind farms that can individually  generate power to about 35,000 homes. Japan is also investing on offshore windmills in order to take advantage of stronger winds, resulting in more efficient energy generation. Wind power costs less than solar energy and is therefore rapidly becoming a growing area of investments and developments.

In addition to its efforts regarding the production and use of solar and wind technologies as alternative energies, Japan has joined international efforts on the creation of the ITER project. The ITER project is based on the development of an alternative energy plant that will unprecedentedly use  nuclear fusion to  generate electricity. This project, when concluded, will use a small amount of input to generate very high outputs of electricity. Furthermore, this alternative energy project will not produce any harmful waste, protecting the environment and avoiding exploitation of resources . Even though the ITER project will take years to be widely accessible, participating countries expect it to be the single most  revolutionizing alternative energy innovation in decades.

If Japan continues to follow its current ways, officials say that by 2050, the nation may reduce its CO 2 emissions by 70%.

Source: www.AsiaEcon.org
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Source: www.asiaecon.org |


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