温暖化ガス削減 「25%」は撤回し現実的目標を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (May. 25, 2012)
Set new, realistic target for greenhouse gas reductions
温暖化ガス削減 「25%」は撤回し現実的目標を(5月24日付・読売社説)

The government should immediately withdraw Japan’s target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.

This ill-advised target spelled out by former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama at a U.N. meeting three years ago is totally unrealistic. Estimates released Wednesday by the Environment Ministry’s Central Environment Council are obvious proof of this.

The council compiled the estimates in the wake of the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. It calculated reduction rates in greenhouse gases in 2020 based on five different ratios of nuclear power in relation to the country’s total power generation, from 0 percent to a maximum of 35 percent.

Nuclear power plants, which emit almost no carbon dioxide when they generate electricity, are an important energy source in terms of fighting global warming.

The estimates show Japan may be able to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a maximum of only 19 percent in 2020 from 1990 levels, even if the ratio of nuclear power generation is raised to 35 percent from the 26 percent level before the nuclear crisis and energy-saving policies are thoroughly implemented.


More nuclear power unlikely

Currently, the country has no operating nuclear reactors and there are no prospects of them being restarted. Nuclear reactors must be reactivated soon to ensure a stable supply of electricity, but it can hardly be assumed that the ratio of nuclear power generation will be higher than before the nuclear crisis.

We can safely say that achieving the 25 percent reduction target will be difficult even if purchases of overseas emissions quotas and the absorption of greenhouse gases by forests in Japan are taken into account.

As the Kyoto Protocol will expire at the end of this year, a U.N. conference will enter full-scale discussions to formulate new rules with the aim of putting them into effect in 2020.

If Japan continues to tout the 25 percent reduction, which has already become an empty promise, there is no doubt it will be cornered into a disadvantageous situation in negotiations to decide on a new international framework for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

Japan’s commitment to the 25 percent reduction was originally premised on building a fair framework with the participation of all major greenhouse gas emitters–including China and the United States, the world’s two largest greenhouse producers–and reaching an agreement on ambitious targets.


Heavy burden looms

However, Japan could be forced to assume obligations for extremely high reductions, as the 25 percent figure has taken on a life of its own.

The government therefore needs to set a new, feasible target so it will not repeat the failure of the Kyoto Protocol, under which Japan shouldered unfair reduction obligations.

The government plans to announce a new energy strategy this summer. It is essential to decide appropriate ratios for electricity generated by different power sources, including nuclear power, and map out a target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions based on these ratios.

Curbing greenhouse gas emissions is important to achieving energy conservation, but an unduly strict reduction target would adversely affect production. Such a target also could hinder reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake.

We urge the government to set a target that will not dampen Japan’s vitality.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 24, 2012)
(2012年5月24日01時32分 読売新聞)

srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: 英字新聞 パーマリンク



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