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    A slightly different group of six has also been meeting in Laos:

    The world’s top two air polluters — the U.S. and China — joined Australia, India, Japan and South Korea on Thursday to unveil a new Asia-Pacific partnership to develop cleaner energy technologies in hopes of curtailing climate-changing pollution.

    They described the initiative as a complement to the Kyoto Protocol that commits 140 countries to cutting emissions of the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, but environmentalists said the new pact lacked firm obligations to cut pollution and that it might undermine the Kyoto accord.

    It said the countries could collaborate on clean coal, liquefied natural gas, methane, civilian nuclear power, geothermal power, rural energy systems, solar power, wind power and bio-energy. In the long-term, they could develop hydrogen nanotechnologies, next-generation nuclear fission and fusion energy, it said.

    Environmental group Friends of the Earth was skeptical about the pact because it contained no legally binding requirements to cut emissions.

    “It looks suspiciously as though this will be business as usual for the United States,” said the U.K.-based group’s member, Catherine Pearce.

    “A deal on technology, supported by voluntary measures to reduce emissions, will not address climate change. This is yet another attempt by the U.S. and Australian administrations to undermine the efforts of the 140 countries who have signed the Kyoto Protocol,” she said.

    Well, nature girl, I have to wonder just how much there is to undermine. Remember this story from several months back?

    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.

    I’ve been looking out for information since then that the federal government is somehow taking this into account and doing something about it (say by directly regulating industry). It’s always possible that a pertinent article has slipped past me, but I kind of doubt it. The Nikkei, the major business newspaper, is the one I read most extensively on-line and subscribe to (morning and evening editions) in dead-tree form. And the way the issue was reported in native English outlets was so bland you might not have noticed that there was even a problem. This CBS report is typical:

    In Japan, a tireless supporter of the pact, the enactment was being met with a mixture of pride and worry that the world’s second-largest economy is unprepared to meet its emissions reduction targets.

    Japan is struggling to find ways to meet its obligations. A report this month by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed that 11 of 30 top Japanese industries — steel and power among them — risked failing to reach targets unless they take drastic steps.

    It makes me wonder whether many of the other countries that signed on really have a plan.

    2 Responses to “大気汚染”

    1. John says:

      The perfect is the enemy of the good. Let’s find a few real solutions for specific problems, and see if the technology blosssoms after that. Killing first world economies is not the answer.

    2. But it’s a crack high, and it doesn’t involve trusting the initiative of private enterpreneurs to find solutions.

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