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Climate change and emissions in Japan - statistics & facts

Climate change is a global phenomenon that has emerged as one of the biggest environmental challenges facing countries worldwide. Negative consequences of the changing global climate, which will likely lead to economic consequences as well, are high temperatures, increased flooding frequency, and a rise in sea levels.
Global warming has already influenced Japan's climate in recent years, resulting in increased rainfall and an increase in the average temperature in Tokyo. These weather changes can intensify natural disasters such as typhoons and heatwaves. Flora and fauna were also affected, resulting in an inhibited growth of crops, corals in the Japanese sea dying due to rising sea temperatures, as well as an increase in the number of deaths attributable to air pollution.

 Causes of greenhouse gas emissions in Japan

The largest driver of global warming is the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. In Japan, the energy conversion sector was responsible for most of the carbon dioxide emissions. Emissions arose here due to fossil fuel combustion for electricity production. Following the nuclear disaster in Fukushima in 2011, nuclear energy was replaced by fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal as energy sources with the largest share in electricity generation. This resulted in increased emissions shortly after the disaster.
In terms of non-energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, the industry sector was one of the main polluting sectors as it had the largest final energy consumption. Since Japan is one of the global leaders in the manufacturing industry, most emissions here were likely due to the high energy consumption needed for production.

 Japan's measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

As a member of the Paris Agreement, Japan intends to reduce its emissions by around 46 percent by 2030, compared to the 2013 value. Furthermore, the Japanese government announced its goal to become entirely emission-free by 2050 and emphasized the importance of restructuring the energy sector to achieve this. The country is currently focusing on replacing fossil fuels with low-carbon energy sources such as nuclear energy and renewables, aiming to increase its renewable energy share up to 38 percent and its nuclear energy share up to 22 percent by 2030.
According to a survey, the majority of young Japanese people agreed that the country should reduce its carbon dioxide emissions, indicating a growing awareness of global warming risks, especially among the younger population.
In recent years, the share of renewable energy in electricity production increased to close to 20 percent, reaching its peak in the past decade, whereas the share of nuclear energy remained low at about four percent. The measures began to show their effect as figures for the total annual greenhouse gas emissions indicated a decline. Nevertheless, there was international criticism that Japan's measures are not sufficient to counteract global warming, as the country declined to sign an agreement to phase out coal at the U.N. climate change conference in Glasgow in 2021.

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