Japan's CO2 emissions hit second-highest on record

An aerial view shows No. 4 (front L), No. 3 (front R), No. 2 (rear L) and No. 1 reactor buildings at Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Takahama nuclear power plant in Takahama town, Fukui prefecture, in this photo taken by Kyodo, November 27, 2014. REUTERS/Kyodo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s greenhouse-gas emissions rose to the second-highest on record in the year ended March 2014, revised government figures showed on Tuesday, reflecting a rise in coal-fired power after the indefinite closure of nuclear power plants.

Emissions rose 1.2 percent to 1.408 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent from a year earlier, according to the revised data published by the Ministry of Environment. That was up 0.8 percent from 2005 and up 10.8 percent from 1990.

That compares with record emissions of 1.412 billion metric tonnes in 2007, the data showed.

All of Japan’s 48 nuclear reactors have been shut down since September 2013, amid rigorous safety checks required after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami wrecked the Fukushima plant northeast of Tokyo.

Nuclear power had accounted for 26 percent of Japan’s electricity generation. Its loss has forced the country to import natural gas and coal, increasing its greenhouse gas emissions.

Preliminary data in December had shown the emissions were a record high in the year ended March 2014.

The world’s fifth-biggest emitter, which in 2012 targeted a 3.8 percent cut by 2020 from 2005 levels, is considering reducing emissions by around 20 percent by 2030 as its contribution to a global summit on climate change in Paris later this year, Japanese media reported on Thursday.

Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Jeremy Laurence