Japan says its CO2 emissions inched to 6-year low in last financial year

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions fell 0.2 percent to a six-year low in the financial year that ended last March, government figures showed on Tuesday, amid growing use of renewable energy and the gradual return of nuclear power.

Emissions in the 2016 financial year fell for a third straight year to 1.322 billion metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent from 1.325 billion tonnes the year before, hitting their lowest since fiscal 2010, according to preliminary data from the environment ministry.

The world’s fifth-biggest carbon emitter, Japan has set a goal to cut its emissions by 26 percent from 2013 levels to 1.042 billion tonnes by 2030.

The nation’s emissions rose after the 2011 nuclear disaster at Fukushima that led to the closure of atomic power plants and an increased reliance on fossil fuel-fired energy.

Four of 42 commercial reactors are now generating power, although the pace of restarts has been slower than many expected as all units need to be relicensed.

Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Joseph Radford