Japan ministry warns electricity industry it will miss CO2 cut target

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s environment ministry warned on Tuesday that the electricity industry, which accounts for 40% of its carbon emissions, will miss its target for cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) by 2030, calling for it to take further measures.

The warning is based on the ministry’s annual review of whether the electricity industry is taking proper measures to achieve the goal to cut CO2 emission to 0.37 kg CO2/kWh by 2030.

“It will be difficult for the electricity industry to meet their 2030 target if the planned new coal-fired power plants are all built, even if some of old coal plants are scrapped, based on our estimate,” Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi told a news conference.

The industry’s CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants would likely exceed the 2030 emissions target by 50 million tonnes, equivalent to 5% of the country’s emission goal in 2030, he said.

The industry minister said recently it would introduce measures to accelerate the closure of old, inefficient coal power plants by 2030 amid mounted criticism of the government’s support for coal.

“We will closely look at the actions to be taken to fade out inefficient coal power stations,” Koizumi said.

Koizumi also said his ministry and the industry ministry would start discussions soon to review long-term plans to tackle global warming.

“I hope the joint panels from the two ministries will hold broad discussions on how to tackle climate change in the post-coronavirus era, including more aggressive CO2 reduction target, which hopefully will reflect on Japan’s NDC,” he said.

In March, Japan maintained its carbon emissions reduction target in an updated emissions plan, known as a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), submitted to the United Nations as part of an international process to address climate change.

Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Robert Birsel