Poor Japan


(Disclaimer: This information was to the best of my knowledge accurate last time I looked on the respective websites, but may have changed now)

Poor Japan–even on issues where it can validly claim to be a global leader its efforts get overlooked.

In September, a recently elected Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama decided to take the initiative on global warming by announcing an ambitious target of a 25-percent reduction in emissions by 2020 compared with 1990 levels.

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But with world leaders now gathered in Copenhagen in a last-ditch attempt to secure an agreement, Japan’s latest pledge has gotten barely a mention overseas. Last week EU leaders earned BBC news headlines after they pledged about $10.6 billion to help developing countries adapt to global warming. Japan yesterday offers 1.75 trillion yen (about $19.5 billion) and gets a few lines buried in a general BBC story about the talks.

The media geographic navel gazing isn’t limited to the BBC though. It took me a little longer to find CNN’s take on the climate talks–apparently it’s only the sixth most important world story today, the most interesting angle on which is that Hillary Clinton says time is running out. I couldn’t see the story at all on the front page, though I did learn there that Pepsi won’t be advertising during the Super Bowl.

Little wonder that an October survey by the Pew Research Center showed the proportion of Americans agreeing there is ‘solid evidence the earth is warming’ had declined to 57 percent, from 71 percent about 18 months earlier.

To be fair to CNN, it did have a quick vote on its website asking: ‘Could you live without conventional electrical and water supplies?’ Presumably this is meant to be some kind of sop to the global warming debate. (For the record, when I looked, 65 percent had said they couldn’t).

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