Friday, November 15, 2013

Blog 10: Japan Shelves Plan to Slash Emissions, Citing Fukushima

Japan, among the world’s top polluters, has new goals to address the threats of a changing climate by reducing its current greenhouse gas emissions. However, it has taken major steps backwards from its pledges to reduce its pollution. An estimated 3 percent more greenhouse gases will be released by 2020 than its emissions in 1990. The country relies on nuclear power to provide about 30 percent of its electricity. Due to the 2011 disaster at Fukushima, the governing body shut down nuclear power plants to ease its citizen’s worry over safety. However, the government is now seeking economic growth and has plans to restart the reactors, despite the failure to stay within its emission targets. The leader of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change stated that Japan has made strides in efficiency and renewable power, hopefully making the new targets achievable. Backtracking on emission levels like Japan and Australia are doing could essentially reduce the global efforts previously made by other countries that agreed to reduce its industrial emissions.
Global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions cannot work with only a few of the leading countries that produce nearly 70 percent of emissions (United States, China, Japan, India and Russia) reducing its industrial emissions. It takes a consolidated effort to reduce the global levels of greenhouse gases. This brings up the topic of should there be a global governing body to hold each nation accountable? What does that mean for sovereignty? Also, the idea of developed vs. developing nations and their limitations on emissions. How can the developed nations determine the right and wrong type of industrialization when they are the ones most responsible for the current pollution levels?

Breanna Steinke

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