Japan's carbon dioxide emissions reached record levels in 2007. New data shows that 1.37 billion tons of greenhouse gases were emitted here in 2007. The amount is 8 percent more than levels in 1990. According to NHK World, the amount exceeds the national reduction target set in the Kyoto Protocol by about 15 percent.
Japan is obliged under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent from 1990 level during the 5 years from 2008 to 2012 but that looks increasingly difficult. The government attributes the increase to suspended operations at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture, after it was damaged in a major earthquake.
Mie Asaoka from Kiko Network notes the obvious: Japan needs to take stronger action to encourage regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. Kiko Network started a nation-wide campaign with 30 other NGOs this year called Make The Rule. In April, Kiko Network proposed a new law, tentatively called the Climate Protection Law, demanding that the government achieve the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent from the 1990 levels by 2012, and set up mid- and long-term goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Mie Asaoka says to The Yomiuri that many people in Japan misguidedly believe the nation is setting the pace in tackling global warming:
"It's true that Japan is very advanced in certain environmental technologies, such as the development of energy-saving home appliances. But that's only one aspect," she said. "Many people seem satisfied with doing some 'eco-friendly things,' like carrying bags to supermarkets, and think Japan is No. 1 in environmental awareness. "But if that's the case, why are greenhouse gas emissions increasing in this country?"
Make the Rule is on tour this fall, visiting towns and cities all over Japan to talk about climate change and raise awareness about the seriousness of the issues. They are using the popular website to encourage people to sign online petitions and write to politicians in Tokyo. Friends of the Earth Japan, a member of Kiko Network, also cooperated with Radiohead during their Japan tour in October, collecting some 20,000 signatures among music fans at concert venues.
Written by Martin Frid at greenz.jp