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Japan Quake Is Causing Costly Shift to Fossil Fuels via The New York Times

(Excerpt)

As its nuclear program implodes, Japan is grappling with a jump in fuel costs, making an economic recovery from the March earthquake and tsunami all the more difficult. Annual fuel expenses could rise by more than 3 trillion yen, or about $39 billion, the government says.

The country, until recently a vocal proponent of measures to curb climate change, is also leaving a bigger carbon footprint. According to government calculations, Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions could rise by as much as 210 million metric tons, or 16 percent, by 2013 from 1990 levels if its nuclear reactors were shut permanently. Under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a global agreement on greenhouse gas emissions, Japan promised to reduce its emissions by 6 percent over that period.

“Can nuclear be eliminated?” asked Adam Schatzker, an energy analyst at RBC Capital Markets. “It’s possible, but very costly.”

If necessary, Japan could replace the energy capacity lost in the shutdown of its nuclear fleet by increasing the use of natural gas and coal, Mr. Schatzker said. “But even if fossil fuel facilities can make up for the loss of nuclear, it would likely take time, cost a great deal more money and pollute significantly,” he said.

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  1. yukimiyamotodepaul says

    It’s all about cost, cost, cost (and a bit of environmental consciousness). But what Japan has lost is thus far incommensurable–health, soil, water, and the future.



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