Ready, Set, Kyoto
While most industrial nations and developing countries are pumping out more greenhouse gases than ever, Japan’s carbon dioxide emissions dropped by 3.8 percent in 1998. About 60 percent of the decline is attributed to the country’s economic slump, but some resulted from efficiency improvements, according to Japan’s Environment Agency. The nation intends to continue reducing emissions in order to meet its goal under the Kyoto climate change treaty of a 6 percent cut from 1990 levels by 2010. Japan is also working to assist China in cutting its emissions, not only to help avert climate change but also to decrease sulfur-laden pollution from China that contributes to acid rain in Japan. Japan is pursuing joint public-private projects, like a $170 million proposal by Hitachi Corp. to retrofit four Chinese coal-burning power plants to boost efficiency and cut emissions by 21 percent.