November 30, 2018 / 1:53 AM / 6 months ago

Japan's 2017/18 CO2 emissions drop to 8-year low

TOKYO, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions dropped 1 percent to an eight-year low in the financial year ended March, government figures showed on Friday, as the country shifts focus to renewable energy and higher utilisation of nuclear plants.

Emissions in the 2017 financial year fell for a fourth straight year to 1.294 billion metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent from 1.307 billion tonnes in the previous year, hitting their lowest since fiscal 2009, according to preliminary data from the environment ministry.

Japan, the world’s fifth-biggest carbon emitter, has set a goal to cut its emissions by 26 percent from 2013 levels to 1.042 billion tonnes by 2030. The latest figure represents an 8.2 percent reduction from 2013 levels, data showed.

The country has come under fierce criticism from environmentalists and more subtle pressure from allies as it is one of the few industrialised countries to heavily promote coal power both at home and abroad, including advanced technology to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Emissions had surged after the 2011 nuclear disaster at Fukushima that led to the closure of atomic power plants and an increased reliance on fossil fuel-fired energy, but have now turned lower after hitting a peak of 1.409 billion tonnes in the 2013 financial year. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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