Since 1990 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Have Increased by 2.7% in Japan

Latest Reported Greenhouse Gas Emission Level: 1.213 billion Metric Tons of CO2 in 2019: an increase of 2.7% over 1990 Levels
(Source: National Institute for Environment Studies)

According to the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), Japan’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2018 was 1,240 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (Mt CO2 eq.). The ratio of types of emissions have remained at similar levels the past few years. Statista Research Department reports carbon dioxide amounted to approximately 1.14 billion tons of CO2 equivalent (92%) of total GHG emissions in Japan in 2018. Methane, generated mainly by the agriculture and waste sectors, accounted for 2.4% of 2015 emissions (NIES, 2017), with fluorinated gases and nitrous oxide accounting for nearly all of the remaining emissions. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (2020), Japan’s GHG emissions make up approximately 3% of global emissions—ranking 5th in the world.

The Japanese government began compiling preliminary data on GHG emissions since the financial year 1990/91. Japan’s 2018 figure of GHG emissions represented a 3.9% decrease from 2017, a 12.0% decrease from 2013, and a 10.2% decrease from FY2005 (NIES, 2019). Recently, the impact of COVID-19 prolonged an already declining trend in GHG emissions, which dropped an average of 2.5% per year between 2013-2018 and 3.9% in 2018 (CAT, 2020).

Japan GHG emissions 1990-2018

In 2012 Japan implemented a feed-in-tariff (FIT) law, which currently addresses solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and biomass energy. The law obliges utilities to buy renewable electricity at a high guaranteed price, with costs paid by users, and has helped large-scale solar farms expand to stand at the world’s third largest solar capacity. Since 2016, parliament passed changes to reduce its cost, better balance support between different technologies, and implement a new auction system to result in significantly lower solar prices.

In 1998, Japan passed the Act on Promotion of Global Warming Countermeasures to commit the state, local governments, and companies to develop emission reduction plans. The plan has been continuously revised with the most recent edition released in May 2016; it outlines robust plans to boldly improve the energy efficiency of 5.3 million buildings by 2030.

Activity Ratings

Emissions Rate *** / 4 stars

Japan’s emissions have decreased by 10-25% over the past 10 years.

Existing Policies *** / 4 stars

Japan’s Renewable Energy Institution reports that, under the FIT scheme, “generation by renewable energy has increased by 39.1 TWh during the same period, which can be said to have contributed significantly in reducing CO2 emissions in the electricity sector” (2017).

Combined Activity Rating ****** / 8 stars


Yukihiro Nojiri, Head of Collaborative Research Group, Greenhouse Gas Inventory Office of Japan, Center for Global Environmental Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies



Japan’s National Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Fiscal Year 2018 (Final Figures)|What’s New

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Feed-in Tariffs in Japan: Five Years of Achievements and Future Challenges | Report |

Renewable Energy Institute. (2017). Retrieved 8 December 2020, from

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Japan Country Manager Yun-Tzu-lin

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