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2014年3月23日 (日)

日本の温暖化 被害軽減へ効率的対応が要る

The Yomiuri Shimbun March 22, 2014
Reducing global warming effects is essential to Japan’s future
日本の温暖化 被害軽減へ効率的対応が要る(3月22日付・読売社説)

Efficient, effective measures must be implemented to curb the adverse effects of global warming.

An Environment Ministry research team has put together a report on the various effects of global warming on Japan.

It predicts that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, the average temperature in Japan is expected to rise by a maximum of 6.4 C, and the sea level is anticipated to go up by 60-63 centimeters, both by the end of this century.

In all likelihood, global warming will have a serious impact on people’s daily lives.

According to the report, the nationwide death toll from heatstroke and other results of global warming will more than double by the end of this century. Asian tiger mosquitoes, which spread infectious diseases, are expected to multiply in nearly every area of the country.

The northern limit for rice production will move further northward. It will become possible to grow Tankan mandarins, a subtropical citrus fruit, instead of satsuma oranges even in the Kanto region, while 85 percent of the country’s sandy beaches will disappear. These changes would deal a blow to such regional industries as agriculture and tourism.

Due to the elevation of the sea level, Okino Torishima, the southernmost island that marks the beginning of Japan’s exclusive economic zone, could submerge.

It is appalling to see predictions of such enormous damage. Annual flood damage, which totaled about ¥200 billion at the end of the 20th century, is expected to expand to a maximum of approximately ¥480 billion. The damage caused by high tides is likely to increase by about ¥260 billion a year.

Steps to minimize damage

Efforts must be made to reduce such damage as much as possible.

But it is not realistic to completely eliminate damage by reinforcing dams and river levees throughout the nation. Society must study “adaptation measures” that can accommodate climate changes while predicting to a certain extent the progress of global warming.

For example, it is imperative to study explicit, meaningful measures such as putting priority on hardware improvement in densely populated and industrial complex areas while trying to improve the compilation of hazard maps for evacuation in other areas.

It will be also necessary to promote research on breed improvements to develop agricultural products with high heat resistance, and conduct a green campaign to alleviate the heat island phenomenon in urban areas.

The government will compile specific adaptation measures in the summer of next year. It is crucial to make these measures capable of dealing flexibly with hard-to-predict climate changes.

Of course, the most crucial goal in efforts against global warming is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It was natural for the report to point out that if cuts in gas emissions prevail globally, it will dramatically lessen the adverse effects of global warming on Japan.

Holding the key in this regard are China and the United States, which together account for more than 40 percent of the world’s total gas emissions. Japan should proactively commit itself to ensuring that a new framework for gas emission controls, which is scheduled to take the place of the Kyoto Protocol in 2020, leads to emission cuts by the two countries.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 22, 2014)
(2014年3月22日01時27分  読売新聞)


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