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    We’re all gonna die! V

    The Asahi seems to me to be a bit slow on the uptake on this one, since it’s been said for the last several years that the Kyoto Accord is basically impracticable for developed countries, but the results of its new survey at least provide dry humor on a topic that’s often treated with poker-faced do-gooder high seriousness:

    With the landmark Kyoto Protocol on global warming finally taking effect today, Japan probably should own up to a major embarrassment: that it may well be unable to meet its obligations under the treaty.

    This possibility, suggested by an Asahi Shimbun survey, contrasts sharply with the fanfare that greeted Japan’s decision to hold an international conference on climate change in 1997 in Kyoto to set reduction goals.

    Under the Kyoto Protocol, Japan has agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions between fiscal 2008 and 2012 by an average 6 percent from the fiscal 1990 level.

    The Asahi Shimbun established that only a few prefectural and municipal governments have done anything about it. In fact, a nationwide survey found that only three of the 47 prefectural governments and seven of the 13 major cities can actually boast decreases in their greenhouse gas emissions.

    Also, latest statistics offered by about half the prefectural and municipal governments surveyed showed double-digit increases over the fiscal 1990 level in greenhouse gas emissions.

    Unlike the central government, prefectural and major municipal governments are not obligated to establish emission reduction goals, and so are still not feeling the heat.

    Well, that’ll work. We’ll just make sure the Diet Building only uses its incinerator on alternate Tuesdays. The archipelago will be pollution-free in no time.

    Now, I cropped that segment of the article just at the laugh line, so it’s only honest to point out that the next paragraph says, “On the other hand, many drew up plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and do away with chlorofluorocarbon replacements.” You have to wonder, though, whether this is motivated by environmental consciousness? Market forces? Production costs? Consider:

    Even local governments that reported emissions cuts acknowledged that the changes were not due to any particular policy measures being implemented.

    For example, an official with the Osaka prefectural government said, “With our faltering economic base, a number of factories decided to move elsewhere.”

    A Kawasaki municipal government official said, “Basically, it was only by a stroke of luck that some companies were able to reduce their output of products that emit greenhouse gases.”

    What Osaka means by “elsewhere,” of course, includes poorer areas in Japan but mostly refers to developing countries, especially China–and those places don’t have the luxury of sufficient prosperity to devote resources to casting about for cleaner energy sources.

    BTW, I wasn’t aware that today was Kim Jong-il’s birthday and the day the Kyoto Protocols were supposed to go into effect. Sheesh. It’s enough to make you want to stay in bed until Thursday.

    Added after the caffeine took effect: Some may remember that, a few months ago, some of those developing countries joined with the US to say no to the Protocols. I haven’t seen any statements from Japan, but the EU is, naturally, talking:

    “We will continue to pressure hard for all of our international competitors to hamstring their economies for our benefit partners to come on board,” European environment chief Stavros Dimas said last Wednesday as the European Commission proposed such post-2012 steps as extending emissions reductions to aviation and shipping.

    One must note, however, that the EU has instituted a point-trading system for emissions that is designed to adhere to the agreement it ratified.

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