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Japan abandons plan to reduce environmental pollution in wake of nuclear energy shutdown

Posted: November 15, 2013 |   Comments

( According to the New York Times, Japan will no longer be able to meet its earlier goal in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, citing nuclear plant shutdowns following the Fukushima disaster. Japan is one of the world's leading polluters (along with China, the U.S., Russia and India), but they previously had a plan to cut emission rates to 25 percent from the levels in 1990. That plan relied on nuclear energy for clean electricity, but now, with Japan's nuclear power program shut down over safety concerns, it is projected to release 3 percent more greenhouse gases by 2020.

As reported by the New York Times,

"We're down to zero nuclear; anyone doing the math will find that target impossible now," Nobuteru Ishihara, the environment minister, said in Tokyo after announcing the new target. He said the original goal was "unrealistic in the first place."

"The current government seeks economic growth while doing our best to meet emissions targets," he added.

This announcement comes as international negotiations regarding pollution and the environment take place in Warsaw, Germany. The Warsaw conference intends to make progress in developing a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol, which expired last year.

"Energy demand is going to increase," Stuart Neil, senior director of external relations and communications for the World Energy Council, said. "We need to look at that in a sustainable way. But the reality is that we're looking at a doubling of demand by 2050," with the majority of growth expected from developing countries.

He added, "Even in the best-case scenario, there will be a doubling of CO2 emissions by 2050."

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