TOKYO (Kyodo) - Japan needs to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 20 million to 34 million tons to attain the 2010 goal under the Kyoto Protocol to tackle global warming, according to an interim report on revising the goal, released Friday by government ministries concerned.
At the present pace, Japan's greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to come in at 20 million to 34 million tons above the goal in fiscal 2010, an amount equivalent to 1.5 to 2.7 percent of the emissions level in fiscal 1990, according to an estimate by a joint committee of the Environment Ministry and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, Japan is required to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 6 percent from the level in fiscal 1990 by fiscal 2010.
Overall emissions of greenhouse gases are expected to increase by 0.9 to 2.1 percent in fiscal 2010 from the level in fiscal 1990, according to the committee.
The government aims to put together a final report on specific measures, including a revision to legislation to promote prevention measures against global warming, by the end of this year.
However, some committee members said government-set targets are very unrealistic, since an additional 100 million tons of emissions might need to be reduced if Japan's nuclear power plants keep operating at the present level.
''Should some nuclear plants be halted, greenhouse gases will not decline even if the public makes efforts to save energy,'' said one committee member, calling for strengthening of measures in the energy sector as well.
Other committee members also called for emergency measures including an environment tax if prospects become dimmer.
According to committee estimates, greenhouse gas emissions in the industrial sector are seen falling 8.5 percent in fiscal 2010 from fiscal 1990, while those in the commercial sector including company offices and shopping buildings are expected to jump 30.9 percent.
Emissions at households are projected to increase 16.1 percent and those in the transport sector 14.5 percent.
Specifically, the government plans to introduce a system to strengthen energy-saving performances at buildings and a tax preferential system to back refurbishments of existing buildings.
The government also intends to make it obligatory to label emissions of carbon dioxides that have been generated while manufacturing products, while urging convenience stores and other chain stores to reduce emissions.
Before compiling the final report, the committee will discuss the effects of emissions rights trading and the impacts of an environmental tax on the nation's economy and industries.