After the G8-Summit in Japan the disappointment about the meagre results with regards to CO2-reduction was big, especially among the NGOs. Though the G8 member states agreed to cut down emission of greenhouse gases by about 50% until 2050, there’s no roadmap how and when which goals should be achieved.
Last ressort? Polar bear at a zoo in Osaka
According to Ichiro Kamoshita, Japan’s environment minister, time is running out: “We globally produce 27 billion tons of carbon dioxide per annum if we take the figures of 2005. But the amount of carbon dioxide which can be absorbed by seas and forests is just 11 billion tons. Basically speaking the world can only absorb half the amount of carbon dioxide that we produce.”
During the summit Japan tried to present itself as a role model in protecting the environment. Just to show the world how environmentally friendly Japan is the country switched off all lights on the first evening of the summit to save energy. But just one glance at the houses in Japan would be enough to get an idea how much more energy could be saved, says Manami Suzuki from Greenpeace Japan:
“We really have to work on that because, as you know, one of the big factors of the Japanese CO2 emission is the inefficiency in the buildings. So really we need a very good policy to be issued by the national government and local government.”
Increase in CO2-emissions
Manami Suzuki is responsible for climate and energy campaigns. Whereas the industry since 1990 did not emit more carbon dioxide, the service sector and private households emitted 40% more greenhouse gases. One major reason is the use of air conditioners which can heat or cool poorly insulated rooms. But adopting Western construction methods is out of question for Ichiro Kamoshita:
“But we also have to think whether European or American architecture is suitable for the Japanese society. We do definitely need houses that don’t depend on air conditioners alone. But we have to find a solution to improve the Japanese way of construction.”
In the past houses were demolished after 30 years and then rebuilt. But now houses should last longer to make the use of expensive energy saving technology profitable. NGOs, the ministry of infrastructure and the Japanese industry association are currently negotiating new energy standards for future constructions.