Saturday, March 01, 2008

Global Warming and the land of the Kyoto Accords

Most people generally accept the evidence that global warming is occurring and is at least in some part connected with human activity. Japan, of course, would like become a leader (or give the impression of being a leader) in fighting global warming.

Unfortunately, there seems to be little real action on the part of the government in this area. Recently, Japan proposed allowing more time for countries to meet the emissions requirements of the Treaty. Japan claimed that this was because countries such as India and China needed more time. This was quite thoughtful of Japan and coincidentally would have the effect of also allowing Japan more time to meet its goals (which it is well behind.) We do have to remember, that even though the Accords are attributed to Japan, the Japanese government never approved the treaty until about 2001---fours years after it was created and only after Bush decided to withdraw from it.

Recently, news reports about Kyoto Accords and Japan seems to include the idea that "Japan has already reduced emissions so much that any further reductions will be very difficult." Sort of becoming like the old nonsense that appears in news report about crime in Japan that strict gun laws are the reason. With the mass shooting earlier this year, we learned that the strict gun laws weren't really so strict and were arguably less so than those in Washington D. C. or New York City. I suspect it is the same for emissions in Japan.

It is fairly easy for anyone to see the opportunities for further energy conservation and emission reductions here. Right now most apartments/mansions are very poorly insulated. Even hot water pipes are left bare. Go shopping or to a supermarket and you get huge amounts of unnecessary wrapping and bags. We easily fill a 70 liter garbage can every week with this stuff and we have tried cut down on the use of plastic bags as much as possible. We all know that Japan continues to pave and cover the country in concrete for the benefit of politicians, thus destroying trees and forests and heating everything up.

I personally doubt that Kyoto has a chance as it is already out-dated and few countries will take it seriously. They won't because most people like to debate about it, but I wonder if we are really going to be willing to make the changes needed to affect global warming if it requires much personal discomfort.

Anyway, I do understand that some are skeptical about the Kyoto Accords. After all, how could you trust scientists from a country where most people are educated to believe that Japan is the only country in the world with four seasons to have even the most basic understanding of the climate? You have to hope that the scientists are a little bit smarter than citizenry.

Of course it's not just Japan. Nobody has the answers, we just think we do and in the meantime do little.

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