Japan's greenhouse gas emissions increased 4.0 percent in fiscal 2011 from a year earlier, totaling the equivalent of 1,308 million tons of carbon dioxide, the Environment Ministry said in a revised report released April 12.
The ministry attributed the rise in the year through March 31, 2012, to increased operation of fossil-fired thermal power plants after almost all of the country's nuclear power reactors were shut down in the wake of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, precipitated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The country's greenhouse gas emissions were the biggest since fiscal 2008 when emission reduction requirements under the Kyoto Protocol started. Under the protocol, Japan is required to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent between fiscal 2008 and fiscal 2012 from the fiscal 1990 level.
Japan is expected to clear the target, as the country's greenhouse gas emissions decreased 9.2 percent by fiscal 2011 once forests' absorption of those gases and purchases of emission rights were taken into account.
Emissions from industry decreased 0.5 percent in fiscal 2011 from a year earlier due to slow production caused by the earthquake-tsunami disaster as well as the subsequent nuclear disaster.
Emissions from households increased 9.8 percent due to the increase in thermal power generation despite power-saving efforts in the sector.
Greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbon, perfluorocompounds and sulfur hexafluoride. Those gases cause greenhouse effects and affect the temperature of the planet.