Japan Data

Economic Upturn Leads to First Rise in Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Japan for Eight Years

Economy Environment

Economic recovery after the downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the first increase in greenhouse gas emissions in Japan for eight years.

Japan’s total greenhouse gas emissions in fiscal 2021 increased by 2% to 1.17 billion tons (carbon dioxide equivalent) in the first increase for eight years. The rise is believed to be due to the increase in energy consumption as the economy recovers following the downturn related to the global pandemic.

The Ministry of the Environment survey listed carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and CFC substitutes as major greenhouse gases, with carbon dioxide accounting for 90.9% of all emissions. The amount of greenhouse gases absorbed by forests and other sources were deducted in the calculation of overall emissions.

The government has pledged to reduce Japan’s emissions to net zero by 2050, and its immediate goal is a 46% reduction in emissions by fiscal 2030 compared to the fiscal 2013 level. Emissions were 16.9% less in fiscal 2021 than when they reached a peak of 1.41 billion tons in fiscal 2013.

Japan’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Carbon Dioxide Equivalent)

The breakdown by sector for carbon emissions from generating electricity and heat based on who uses them shows that the industrial sector continued to have the largest emissions, increasing by 5.4% to 373 million tons. This was followed by the commercial sector with a rise of 3.3% to 190 million tons, and the transportation sector with an increase of 0.8% to 185 million tons. Meanwhile, emissions for the household sector decreased by 6.3% to 156 million tons, which was 24.8% lower than the fiscal 2013 level.

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

In fiscal 2021, 47.6 million tons of carbon dioxide was absorbed by forests. The year-on-year increase of 1.6 million tons was due in part to forest maintenance.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: Wind turbines lining the mountains of the island of Awajishima in Minami-Awaji, Hyōgo Prefecture, in February 2023. © Jiji.)

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