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2008年10月 8日 (水)

地球温暖化と総選挙

2008/10/7 --The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 6(IHT/Asahi: October 7,2008)

EDITORIAL: Global warming

地球温暖化と総選挙―「環境」だって票になる 


With all the talk about a looming Lower House election, one crucial issue seems to have eluded Diet debate: How to stem global warming.

政権選択の総選挙が近づいているのに、国会では地球温暖化防止の政策論争がいっこうに盛り上がらない。

Lawmakers are strikingly silent on this issue. It's as if they concluded that sufficient policy debate was given to climate change during this year's Group of Eight summit held at Lake Toyako, Hokkaido.

まるで、「洞爺湖サミットで温暖化論議は一段落」といった静けさである。

We are alarmed at this situation, given that our collective response to rising temperatures will determine the course of economic and social development in this century.

地球温暖化への対応は、21世紀の経済と社会の発展のあり方を決める重要な選択であるにもかかわらずだ。 

In elections in other major industrial countries, it is the norm for parties and candidates, irrespective of their political and ideological standing, to present proposals to stop harmful climate change.

 先進諸国の選挙では、党派を問わず温暖化防止対策を示すのが当たり前になっている。

In the United States, where the administration of President George W. Bush has been lukewarm at best about tackling the challenge of climate change, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his Republican opponent John McCain have both promised to set specific numerical targets for reducing the country's emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

ブッシュ政権下で温暖化防止に後ろ向きだった米国では、大統領選を戦うオバマ氏(民主党)とマケイン氏(共和党)が、それぞれ二酸化炭素(CO2)など温室効果ガス削減の数値目標を公約に掲げている。 

In Australia's general election held in November last year, one of the factors behind the victory of the Labor Party, which wrested power from the conservative coalition, was a campaign strategy that put strong emphasis on the party's commitment to fighting global warming.

 昨年11月のオーストラリアの総選挙で保守連合から政権を奪った労働党の勝因の一つは、温暖化防止を前面に掲げたことだった。 

The leaders of these countries are now looking ahead to the post-Kyoto Protocol era. The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 treaty which requires industrial countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels, began this year and runs through 2012.

 こうした国々の指導者の視線の先には「ポスト京都」がある。先進国に温室効果ガス削減を義務づけた京都議定書の2012年までの第1約束期間が今年、始まった。


Countries are now negotiating to thrash out a post-Kyoto framework for anti-warming efforts beyond the first commitment period, hoping to reach a binding agreement when negotiators meet in Copenhagen at the end of next year under United Nations auspices.

「ポスト京都」とは13年以降の新たな枠組みのことで、来年末にデンマークである交渉会議で基本的枠組みの合意をめざしている。 

Looking beyond Kyoto

 ■ポスト京都を見据えて 


During the Toyako summit, the eight major powers agreed that all countries should share "the goal of achieving at least a 50-percent reduction in global emissions by 2050."

 洞爺湖サミットで主要8カ国は「50年に温室効果ガスの排出量半減という目標をすべての国々が共有する」ことで一致した。

How should this long-term goal be treated under the post-Kyoto framework? What kind of medium-term goals to be achieved by around 2020-2030 should be set?

この長期目標を「ポスト京都」でどう取り扱うのか。20~30年ごろの中期的な目標をどう設定するのか。

Negotiations on the new treaty involving fast-growing emerging economies like China and India and developing countries as well as industrialized nations will intensify during the year-long period to the end of 2009.

残り1年余りの間、中国やインドなどの新興経済国や開発途上国を巻き込んだ駆け引きが本格化する。 

The new post-Kyoto treaty will bind the participating countries to specific obligations for decades to come. That's why policy debate is raging in the United States and Europe over visions of a low-carbon society and ways to secure sustainable economic growth.

 「ポスト京都」の新たな枠組みはこの先、何十年も参加国を縛る。だからこそ、低炭素社会のビジョンや経済発展のあり方をめぐって、欧米で政策論争が盛んなのだ。 

It is by no means easy to build national consensus on this issue.

 国内の意見をまとめるのは容易ではない。

Proposed measures to reduce greenhouse gases, such as emissions trading and an environmental tax, would bring about various social and economic changes.

排出量取引や環境税などは社会や経済の変化をもたらす。

The business community and citizens alike will have to accept a painful increase in the burden they shoulder. It is the job of political leaders to define a direction for the nation's climate policy amid conflicting opinions and interests.

産業界や国民には負担増の「痛み」を引き受けてもらわねばならない。さまざまな意見や利害が交錯するなかで、方向を定めるのは政治の仕事である。 

In June, then Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda announced a comprehensive climate proposal known as the Fukuda vision. Its goal was to slash Japan's greenhouse gas emissions by 60 to 80 percent from current levels over the long term.

 福田前首相が6月に出した温暖化対策の包括提案(福田ビジョン)は「温室効果ガス削減の長期目標は現状比60~80%削減」と数字を示し、国別の削減目標設定も打ち出した。

Fukuda also called for country-specific mandatory caps on emissions. But his proposal did not refer to any medium-term target nor make clear how Japan should move toward a low-carbon society.

だが、中期目標には触れておらず、低炭素社会への道筋ははっきりしない。 

Fukuda's successor, Prime Minister Taro Aso, made some ambitious-sounding promises in his policy speech at the outset of the ongoing Diet session.

He pledged to make sure that Japan will become "a low-carbon society compatible with economic growth ahead of other countries" and "lead efforts to establish international rules as a country that is on the cutting edge of environmental protection and energy conservation."

But Aso failed to offer a clear scenario about how to build on the Fukuda vision. Supported by no specific numerical targets, his climate policy promises are not very convincing.

 麻生首相は所信表明演説で「成長と両立する低炭素社会を世界に先駆けて実現する」「世界で先頭をゆく環境・省エネ国家として国際的なルールづくりを主導していく」と述べたが、福田ビジョンをどう発展させるのかのシナリオは見えない。具体的な数字の約束もいっさいなく、説得力が乏しい。

Job-rich technology development

 ■雇用も生む技術開発 

Meanwhile, the main opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) has submitted its own climate bill to the Diet. The party's climate policy platform announced in September included two medium- to long-term goals: a 25-percent cut in heat-trapping gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2020 and a 60-percent reduction before 2050.

 一方、民主党は地球温暖化対策基本法案を国会に提出済みで、9月にまとめた党環境政策大綱で「20年までに90年比25%削減」「50年より早い段階で60%削減」という中長期の目標を掲げた。

The Minshuto platform also called for increasing the share of renewable energies like solar and wind power in the nation's overall energy supply to 10 percent by 2020 from around 2 percent right now.

It also advocated the creation of a domestic emissions trading system and a new tax to promote efforts to stop the process that is making the planet warmer.

太陽光や風力などの再生可能エネルギーの割合を現在の2%程度から20年までに10%に増やすことをめざすほか、国内排出量取引や地球温暖化対策税も明記している。 

But the opposition party's platform did not specify the rate of the new green tax nor address when it should be introduced. Minshuto was also vague about the emissions trading system it envisions.

 だが、新税の税率や導入時期は示されておらず、どのような国内排出量取引制度にするかもあいまいだ。 

The question confronting policymakers is how to achieve continued economic growth and maintain people's living standards without harming the health of the planet.

 地球環境を守りつつ、経済成長や暮らしの安定をどう実現していくのか。

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party should come up with a new climate proposal including concrete targets, while Minshuto needs to develop convincing plans to deliver on its promises. Then, the two parties should start serious policy debate on this subject.

自民党は数値目標を含めた新たな提案を出し、民主党は約束を実現する具体策を示したうえで、本格的な政策論争を展開してほしい。 

The perspective that should be kept in focus in the debate is that a delay in the shift to a low-carbon society leads to losses. One aspect of the international drive to arrest the dangerous climb of the Earth's temperature is competition to develop eco-friendly technologies. Shying away from efforts to stem global warming to avoid necessary short-term costs could mean lost business opportunities.

 その際に忘れてならないのは、「低炭素社会への転換が遅れると損をする」という視点だ。温暖化防止には技術の開発競争という側面がある。目先のコストを嫌って温暖化対策から逃げているとビジネスチャンスを逃す。 

Aso has said that environmental and energy technologies have the potential to create new demand and jobs. Minshuto has promised to create jobs by promoting the development of technologies and products with a lower environmental impact. Both parties should offer concrete policy proposals focused on the positive aspect of tackling this challenge.

 「環境・エネルギー技術には新たな需要と雇用を生む力がある」(麻生首相)、「環境負荷の少ない技術や商品の開発で雇用を確保する」(民主党)といったプラス面を生かす政策を具体的に示してもらいたい。 

They should also explain clearly and candidly the "pains" that the shift to a low-carbon society would entail.

 低炭素社会への転換に伴う「痛み」の中身も率直に語ってほしい。 

Germany has obliged electric power companies to buy all the electricity generated by using alternative energies over a period of 20 years. This radical measure has contributed greatly to promoting clean energies, allowing the country to rocket ahead of Japan to world leadership in solar-power generation. The cost of purchasing electricity produced with alternative energies is shared widely by consumers through higher utility bills.

 ドイツは、再生可能エネルギーによる電気を20年にわたりすべて買い取るよう電力会社に義務づけた。それが追い風になり、太陽光発電の設備量で日本を抜いて世界一になった。買い取りに伴うコストは電気料金に上乗せされ、利用者が広く負担している。 

It will be vital to gain the public's support for measures that will entail a higher burden for programs to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

 こうしたコストの分担について国民の理解を求めなければならない。 

Painful transition

 ■「痛み」への目配りを 

In our view, it is also vital for public discussion to be held on measures to cushion the expected pain that these steps will cause.

 「痛み」に対するセーフティーネットの議論も必要だ。 

The climate bill that the U.S. Senate considered and came close to voting on this year contained provisions to provide support to the poor and offer job training for jobless workers.

These provisions were based on the assumption that policy efforts to stop global warming would raise electricity rates and cause job losses by hurting energy-intensive industries. Policy responses to the issue of global warming in Japan also need to pay such careful attention to possible side effects.

 今年、米上院で審議され、採決寸前までいった温暖化防止法案は、温暖化対策に伴って電力料金が上がったり、エネルギー多消費型産業の縮小で失業者が出たりすることを想定し、貧困層への支援や失業者の職業訓練まで考慮する内容だ。こうした目配りのきいた対策が日本でも求められる。 

The environment is not an issue that is closely linked to people's daily lives or makes a big difference at the voting booth. If politicians still believe this myth they are boxed in terribly outdated thinking.

 地球環境は日々の暮らしからは遠い問題で、票になりにくい。そんな思いに政治家がとらわれているとすれば、時代遅れもはなはだしい。 

All political leaders of today must have the ability to provide effective ideas and leadership for turning the serious threat posed by global warming into an opportunity for economic and social progress.

 気候変動というピンチを、経済や社会の発展のチャンスに変える構想力と指導力――。現代の政治家のだれもが備えているべき資質である。 

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