Fifty years have passed since humanity first viewed their beautiful planet, called the ﾒwater planet,ﾓ for the first time from space. But our supposedly beautiful Earth suffers deterioration of the global environment owing to human activities such as food shortages due to human population growth, worsening water and air pollution due to rapid industrialization, and an energy crisis brought on by the heavy consumption of fossil fuels and other energy.
Especially the CO 2 generated by the expanding use of fossil fuels impacts heavily on the global environment in the form of global warming, and also hinders the sustainable development of humanity. We developed countries have a big responsibility because of our mass consumption of fossil fuels.
In 2006 Hokkaido University created the Hokkaido University Initiative for Sustainable Development, and since then has aggressively pursued education and research aimed at attaining sustainability for humanity. About the time when the G8 Toyako Summit was held in July 2008 at Lake Toya in Hokkaido, Hokkaido University designated the four weeks surrounding the summit as Sustainability Weeks, during which the university held about 40 events including international symposia and fora on sustainability, and public lectures for the general public. As part of this effort, we instituted a graduate school common course called ﾒSustainable Low-Carbon Societyﾓ and held dialog-type lectures that also involved the general public. This book brings together the material from those lectures. The lectures started with the basic mechanisms of environmental changes such as environmental deterioration and global warming, proceeded to institutional theory meant for low-carbon societies from the standpoint of environmental economics and international environmental law, then finally discussed the current state and near future of new technology development for achieving a low-carbon society, and the initiatives of China, which will likely become the world’s biggest CO 2 emitter. This provided indicators for considering the realization of a low-carbon society on the levels of countries, localities, and individuals. It is our hope that this book, which was written by Japan’s representative researchers, will not only be read by many, but will also heighten low-carbon society awareness in Japan and hasten the transition.
Hiroshi Saeki, President
January 13, 2009
Preface Hiroshi Saeki
Introduction Fumikazu Yoshida
Chapter 1 The Natural System Mechanism of Global Warming
Yasuhiro Yamanaka, Masahiko Fujii, and Motoyoshi Ikeda
Chapter 2 The Greenhouse Effect, Climate Change, and Impacts on Water Resources
Koji Yamazaki and Motoyoshi Ikeda
Chapter 3 Impacts on Forest Ecosystems in Conjunction with Global Warming, with a Focus on Boreal Forests
Chapter 4 Combatting Global Warming with Forests and Other CO2 Sinks
Chapter 5 Japan's Cyclical Economy in a Low-Carbon Society
Chapter 6 Global Warming and International Law
Chapter 7 Pathways towards a Low-Carbon Society in Japan by 2050
Chapter 8 Twenty Years of Global Warming as Seen from International Politics
Chapter 9 Addressing Urgent Challenges While Building a Low-Carbon Society: Renewable and New Energy Sources
Chapter 10 Hokkaido Agriculture and Biomass Energy
Chapter 11 Hydrogen Energy Use for Low-Carbon Societies
Chapter 12 Community Wind Power
Chapter 13 China in a Low-Carbon World: Its Role, Challenges and Strategies