Japan’s Midnight Bunny Off Endangered Species List

The Amami Black rabbits are found only on the tiny islands of Amami Oshima and Toku no shima in the Nansei Islands far out to sea near Okinawa.

The special bunny has seen a series of promotions in status over the years, firstly becoming a natural monument in 1921, protecting it from being hunted. Then in 1963 the bulky bodied, short hind legged rabbits was then further elevated in status to special natural monument, preventing both hunting and trapping of the isolated species.

Read the rest of the story: Japan’s midnight bunny off endangered species list.

Japan’s Tsunami Towns Create Jobs by Going Green

Rikuzentakata, like many towns on Japan’s rugged north-east Pacific coast, was in decline even before last year’s tsunami killed 1 700 of its 24 000 inhabitants and destroyed most of its downtown buildings.

With two-thirds of the remaining residents homeless, mayor Futoshi Toba questioned whether the town could recover. Damage to infrastructure and the local economy, he said, would force people to move away to find jobs.

Sixteen months later, the town is trying to rebuild in a way that Toba says will reinvent the region and provide a model to overcome obstacles that have hobbled the Japanese economy for more than 20 years: the fastest-ageing population in the developed world, loss of manufacturing competitiveness to China and South Korea and reliance on imported fossil fuels.

Read the rest of the story: Japan’s tsunami towns go green to create jobs, bypass nuclear .

Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff Era Begins in Japan

The feed-in tariff system for renewable energies entered into force Sunday to help promote their use and cut Japan’s dependency on nuclear power.

The system requires utilities to purchase all electricity generated through solar, wind, water and geothermal power, among other eco-friendly sources, at fixed rates for up to 20 years. The costs will be passed onto consumers.

The government’s generous tariff rates have created considerable interest in the sector, with companies rushing to build massive solar and other power plants based on renewable energies.

Read the rest of the story: Feed-in tariff era gets under way.

SoftBank-Kyocera Solar Plant Inaugurated in Kyoto

The largest mega-solar project in Kyoto Prefecture was inaugurated Sunday, the same day a feed-in tariff for renewable energies took effect and just hours before the Oi nuclear plant was set to resume operations.

The first of the project’s two solar power facilities, built in a joint venture between SoftBank group’s SB Energy Corp. and the Kyocera group, began operations later in the day. The second facility is scheduled to go online in September, and each is expected to generate 2.1 megawatts. When both are up and running, their combined capacity will be enough to power around 1,000 households, SB Energy said.

The ceremony took place in a downpour, prompting SoftBank Corp. President and CEO Masayoshi Son to note that the weather proves Japan needs a mix of renewable energy sources.

Read the rest of the story: SoftBank-Kyocera solar plant gets off to soggy start amid downpour in Kyoto.

Treepods – These would be awesome in Asia

Boston’s handful of scenic parks — while filled with trees — are outmatched by sources of air pollution. These huge mushroom tree things called Treepods could help filter CO2 from the air, powered only by the sun and little kids on seesaws.

The Treepods would be constructed purely of recycled plastic bottles. On top, they’d be covered with solar panels to help power the CO2 filtration process, which would take place throughout the branches using a ‘humidity swing’ process. The trunk of the tree sports an integrated seesaw, where children can get off their lazy butts and start generating some electricity to help save the world already.

Read the rest of the story: Giant glowing mushrooms could clean Boston’s air.

Japan at the UN: $2bln environment rescue package for developing countries to stay natural

Japan announced Wednesday a two-billion-dollar environment rescue package for developing countries in a bid to kick-start tense UN talks aimed at securing a pact on saving biodiversity.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Japan wanted to help lead the world in protecting the world’s animals and plants from extinction, and offered the money to poor nations over the next three years.

"Our generation must resist the ongoing extinction and bequeath to future generations our rich and abundant earth," Kan said as he unveiled his government’s aid package that would be spent on protecting ecosystems.

Kan was addressing delegates from more than 190 countries who are in the central Japanese city of Nagoya trying to broker a treaty aimed at ending the world’s rapid loss of biodiversity.

via Japan offers $2bln environment rescue package.

Japan expresses doubt on final agreements being made at the upcoming climate talks

Japan’s envoy to climate change talks expressed doubt Wednesday that a final agreement would be reached at the UN summit on tackling global warming that starts next week in Copenhagen.

“Due to time constraints … we would have to say it will be difficult to agree on a legally binding text” at the December 7-18 meeting, said Environment Minister Sakihito Ozawa.

However, he expressed hope that a non-binding political agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions can be signed by 192 nations there that would pave the way for a final text.

Such a political agreement should include the reduction targets of industrialized countries, mitigation actions by developing countries, pledges of financial aid, and a deadline for a legally binding text, he said.

“The negotiations will be complex, with a high degree of difficulty, but I believe it is possible to achieve a historical politically binding agreement,” he told reporters.

The center-left government of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has promised to slash emissions by 25 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, as long as major emitters such as the United States and China also take meaningful action.

Japan, where the Kyoto Protocol was signed in 1997, has so far struggled to meet its own previous target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by six percent between 1990 and the 2008-2012 period.

Tokyo has also pledged 9.2 billion dollars in aid to developing countries by 2012 to help them combat global warming.

More Information:
COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 2009

Source: AFP

5 major Japanese firms launch coalition to combat global warming

Five major Japanese companies said Thursday they have jointly launched an organization to fight global warming by creating a sustainable low carbon society.

Aeon Co., the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Fujitsu Ltd., Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co. and Ricoh Co. have founded the Japan Climate Leader’s Partnership, or Japan-CLP, which they said supports the idea of halving global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The launching of the joint body, unique among Japanese businesses, comes ahead of a key UN climate change conference to be held in Copenhagen in December aimed at creating a global framework to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on fighting global warming.

“We have founded Japan-CLP to urge the industrial community to develop a sound sense of urgency on the issue of climate change and to initiate more proactive actions, “the five companies said, adding Japan-CLP will provide support for “helping emissions to peak out at the earliest possible stage.”

“The transformation to a sustainable low-carbon society will also open up new business opportunities driven by appropriate policies and frameworks, and the proactive engagement of corporations,” they said in a statement.