More DW Blogs DW.COM


Thinking for a cooler world

Ranty Islam | Ideas

Debating Climate Change: The View from Japan

Masao Honma from Japan

We love to hear how our stories and ideas on climate protection are received in other parts of the world. So when receiving emails from our GLOBAL IDEAS audience, we read their comments with great interest. But there is one who sticks out. Masao Honma from Japan has commented on almost every one of our close to 200 GLOBAL IDEAS reports and background articles. We have collected an impressive amount of messages flying from Masao’s house in Niigata to our Berlin office. Thank you Masao for your constant support and insight! It’s always a pleasure to see your name pop up in our mail accounts! We have asked Masoa Honma for permission to publish some of his comments providing an insight into the climate change debate in Japan.

Green shipping

In one of our animated info films we asked the question “How bad for the environment are cruise ships?” But how is Japan dealing with CO2 emissions from it’s very own shipping industry? Here’s Masao’s take on the issue:

In Japan government organizations are developing “Super Eco Ship” technologies for commercial use – but I think this is too expensive for cargo ships at this stage. [Maybe it’s better] to first change passenger boats into Super Eco Ships. The human load of passenger ships must have great interest in protecting the environment.

Fire fighting to save the climate

In our report on managing wild fires in Brazil, we learned that fire isn’t just destructive – in fact, there are ecosystems that thrive on regular blazes. Japanese farmers also actively make use of fires:

In Japan, some farmers set fire to their meadows at the beginning of the season, to clear dead grass and harmful insects. It is confined to a limited area and watched over by the fire brigade.

People aren’t responsible for climate change

In another text, scientists are countering three of the most common arguments of climate change sceptics. What about climate change scepticism in Japan?

In Japan, climate change scepticism is not so popular in public, even though the people have a high pro-business attitude. One reason may be the optimistic attitude of the Japanese. They don’t oppose mainstream science, but think the effects of climate change [will be felt only] much later. But there are some unignorable signs, even today: last year a tornado hit a town in the area of Tsukuba, not far from Tokyo. In the past, tornadoes used to be very rare in Japan. I myself feel that the weather patterns these years are strange. Denying the facts of climate change is crazy!


September 9, 2013