Japan Data

Japan’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Fiscal 2020 Lowest on Record

Environment Economy

While carbon emissions decreased in Japan during fiscal 2020, there is still a long way to go to meet government targets.

According to preliminary figures released by the Ministry of the Environment, Japan’s total greenhouse gas emissions in fiscal 2020 decreased by 5.1% or 62 million tons (carbon dioxide equivalent), as compared to 1.15 billion tons in the previous fiscal year, marking a record decrease for the second consecutive year. This is believed to be due to the drop in energy consumption, especially among corporations, resulting from the economic downturn amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Greenhouse gas emissions have decreased in Japan for seven consecutive years. The study conducted by the ministry lists the main greenhouse gases as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and CFC substitutes, with carbon dioxide accounting for 90.8% of all emissions.

The government has pledged to reduce Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, and has set the immediate goal of reducing emissions by 46% (compared to fiscal 2013) by fiscal 2030. Emissions for fiscal 2020 were only 18.4% lower than the record-high 1.41 billion tons in fiscal 2013, falling far short of the target.

The breakdown by sector for carbon emissions from generating electricity and heat based on who uses them, shows an 8.3% decrease to 353 million tons for industry, which remained the main consumer as in the previous fiscal year; followed by a 10.2% decrease to 185 million tons for transportation, and a 4.1% decrease to 184 million tons in the commercial sector. Meanwhile, the household sector, the fourth largest, saw a 4.9% increase to 167 million tons. This seems to have been the result of increased remote working due to the pandemic.

Carbon Emissions by Sector (Based on Usage of Electricity and Heat)

Fiscal Year 1990 2005 2013 2019 2020
Industry (factories, etc.) 503 467 463 385 353
Transportation (automobiles, etc.) 208 244 224 206 185
Commercial, services, business, etc. 131 220 238 192 184
Household 129 171 208 160 167

Created by Nippon.com based on data from the Ministry of the Environment. Preliminary figures used for fiscal 2020.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

environment renewable energy climate change carbon dioxide