Nov 1, 2009

Japan as a guide to CO2 levels and economic activity

Excerpts below from the article in Reuters point to how the Earth has benefited by the economic slow down because with lower consumer demand there is less being made therefore less pollution from manufacturing.

Sadly the same economic slow down has impacted the humans of the Earth significantly and even though the early 21st century was characterized by waste and over consumption, that style of living does create more manufacturing jobs.

The Kyoto and Copenhagen summits are for trying to bridge this gap so we can have manufacturing and growth but not damage the Earth while so doing.

A slumping economy pushed down Japanese CO2 emissions from burning fuels by a record 6.7 percent in the year to March 2009, the trade ministry said on Friday, but the country is still far from meeting its Kyoto Protocol obligations.

Improvements in energy efficiency in Japan, the world's fifth-biggest emitter, and a shift to non-fossil fuels contributed to less than 10 percent of the decline.

Japan's Kyoto commitments are to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 1.19 billion tonnes in carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent on average in the five years starting from the last fiscal year, down 6 percent from 1990/1991 levels.

CO2 created from burning fuels, which are largely affected by industrial activity, account for about 90 percent of the country's total greenhouse gas emissions. CO2 from chemical reactions and other processes account for about 5 percent and the remainder is made up of other greenhouse gasses, such as hydrofluorocarbons used in refrigerators and air conditioners........

The preliminary data on Friday showed that CO2 emissions from fuel fell 6.7 percent to 1.14 billion tonnes in fiscal 2008/2009 from a year earlier when a record 1.22 billion tonnes were emitted......

The decline in CO2 emissions was mainly attributed to a record 6.8 percent decline in Japan's final energy consumption in the past fiscal year, when the world's No.2 economy shrunk by 3.2 percent and the number of people who lost their jobs rose by a hefty 640,000....

Unlike in the EU where companies being bound to compulsory emission caps play a key role in curbing greenhouse gas emissions, Japan's plans to meet its minus 6 percent reduction goal are based on voluntary emission cuts by major industries.

The plans also include buying of emissions offsets from abroad via the Kyoto Protocol's market schemes.
By Risa Maeda
Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:30am EDT

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