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Japan doubts it can meet Kyoto obligations

TOKYO, August 10 (RIA Novosti) - Japan may fail to meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol to limit greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below the 1990 level by 2012, a government report said Friday.

The report said Japan could reduce emissions by 3.3-4.5% at most.

Emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in Japan's public utilities, transport and trade sectors are expected to grow by 14-30% by 2010, effectively nullifying the target cuts in the industrial sector, where emissions should fall by 8.5%.

Another factor is the shutdown of the country's largest nuclear power plant, Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, damaged by a powerful earthquake in mid-July. To make up for the power shortage, the operator has had to restart mothballed fossil-fuel thermal power unit. Experts say it will take at least a year to put the NPP back into operation.

The Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which sets greenhouse gas emission targets for the period up to 2012, came into force two years ago, following ratification by 141 countries, which together account for over 55% of global emissions.

The United States, the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, refused to ratify the protocol, rendering it ineffective. Various UN climate change bodies are working to draw up a successor agreement to Kyoto.

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