Japan scales back greenhouse gas emissions target: official

TOKYO, Japan (UPDATED) - Japan said Friday it was dramatically scaling back its greenhouse gas emissions target after the Fukushima nuclear accident forced the country to turn to fossil-fuel burning energy sources.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the new target for 2020 – 3.8 percent below 2005 levels – replaces an ambitious goal to slash emissions by one-quarter from 1990 levels, which had been hailed by environmentalists.

Japanese media said the new target – which accounts for Japan idling its nuclear reactors after the worst atomic accident in a generation – represents a 3.0 percent rise over 1990 levels.

Suga, the government's top spokesman, said the earlier target set in 2009 by a center-left government under then-prime minister Yukio Hatoyama was "totally unfounded".

"Our government has been saying... that the 25 percent reduction target was totally unfounded and wasn't feasible," he told reporters in Tokyo.

A foreign ministry official said the new target would likely be announced next week at a 12-day climate talks summit in Warsaw which kicked off on Monday. - Rappler.com