Japan launches new campaign to fight climate change

Japan has launched a new nationwide campaign to fight climate change, three years after its energy conservation efforts were hit by the March 11 triple disasters.

There is a new tagline and a new logo for Japan’s refreshed initiative to go green.

Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara said: “The name of our new campaign is ‘Fun to Share’. The round blue shape in the logo is the Earth. The Earth is what supports our campaign. It represents our determination to consider the Earth with tremendous concern.”

And the very first voice of support for the new campaign came from outer space.

Koichi Wakata, commander of the International Space Station, said: “I’m now 440 kilometres above the Earth at the International Space Station. The Earth floating in the darkness of space is really beautiful. But the Earth is facing a big issue of climate change. I, Koichi Wakata, astronaut of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), will join in the climate change campaign, ‘Fun to Share’.”

Celebrities such as singers, actresses and athletes have also pledged to contribute to the new climate change campaign, as did representatives of various industries.

Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of Japan Business Federation, said: “Our message is we aim to promote low gas emissions with our technologies.”

High school students were also chosen as “communicators” to help spread the word of energy conservation.

Japan aimed to cut its carbon dioxide (CO2) emission from 2005 to 2009 from the 1990 level by six per cent, and it managed to achieve that. Its next target is to cut CO2 emission by 25 per cent by 2020.

However, after the halt of nuclear power plants after the Fukushima disaster in 2011, that target was made impossible. Japan revised its target last year to minus 3.8 per cent, and that disappointed many.

Still, efforts to cut emissions continue.

Shunichi Samura, chairman of Japan Department Store Association, said: “We had a disaster in 2011. At that time, use of power became such a problem our association had to urgently take measures.

“We started by changing our lights to LED. We invested a lot on that… We made many other efforts including stopping lifts. The will to reduce power use was so strong, during the next three years it was reduced by nearly 20 per cent.”

Japan’s renewed drive to fight climate change coincides with the Inter-govermental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meeting in the Japanese port city of Yokohama.

The IPCC sees scientists from over a hundred countries gather to put together a massive report on the threat of climate change.

Reports said the IPCC will stress that the Earth’s warming trend is almost certainly caused by humans, but that it can still be eased if steps are taken.

And while the report may shape future environmental policies, it does not bind governments to any targets.

Despite the new campaign in Japan, a new national target on reduction of gas emission has not been set.

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