Posted by: bklunk | April 14, 2007

Did You Notice This?

The interesting thing about this item is that the agreement was not between the Japanese and Chinese governments but between Japanese and Chinese CORPORATIONS. Prime Minister Abe and Premier Wen Jiabao witnessed the agreement but they did not sign it.

Energy Pact « politics

On Thursday, April 11,2007, Japan and China decided to sign an agreement on reducing their oil usage. Both countries are trying to work together to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Since Japan and China are the “second and third largest oil users” reducing their intake would eliminate some of the greenhouse gas emissions. They are planning to work together to develop more natural gas resources. Will this collaboration help reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

http://www.cnn.com/2007/BUSINESS/04/11/japan.china.energy.reut/index.html

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Responses

  1. I believe that the agreement between Japanese and Chinese corporations to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions is a huge step towards a greater good. Neither state was a part of the Kyoto protocol since developing countries were exempt but these two states are taking the issue seriously and are stepping up and making a difference. Even though their governments did not sign any agreements and the corporations have taken the issue upon themselves, it is a huge turning point in an international effort to reduce global carbon dioxide levels. We need leadership by powerful countries on this issue and if the current administration of the United States is unwilling to take that position, I am very glad that the developing nations have stepped up. The truth is before us on the issue of global warming, we can no longer refuse to acknowledge it. There are still uncertainties in what approaches to take to combat the issue, but at this point any approach is better than nothing. Props to the corporations of China and Japan for taking the initiative.

  2. I’m assuming that the United States is the country who emits the most greenhouse gas. I believe we are trying to lower the amount we give off too, especially with all the problems of global warming. However, I believe it is our government who is trying to do more for our nation. This is a bizarre way to improve. I find it interesting that the companies are the ones who are concerned about the environment. Usually it’s the government who is making companies to change their production styles in order to help the environment. I wonder why it’s different in this case.

    As you pointed out, the Prime Minister and Premier witnessed the agreement but did not act. This predicament reminds me of the last blog I responded to. It was about the Prime Minister of Australia and his problems decreasing logging. It’s great that he wants to improve the environment and save more trees, but on the other hand he wants to make Australia a world nuclear producer. As you can tell those things don’t go together. This would bring a lot more money into Australia than logging would and it would require the removal of more trees to build nuclear power plants.

    It’s great that both countries are trying to work together, I just wonder why the government is sitting back and watching. I’m sure there is a lot more to it than being told. It will be interesting to see if the government tries to hurt the company’s actions.

  3. The United States is the greatest producer of greenhouse gas emissions, and we have done some work towards changing this. We haven’t done nearly enough work but, especially at the state level, there have been some good efforts made to decrease the amount of greenhouse gas emissions this country produces. Anyway, I don’t think this is the discussion the article necessarily brings up.

    I don’t think that we should assume that the Chinese and Japanese governments are sitting back and watching while the corporations do the work to help the environment. From what I have heard, a lot of the world has been willing to sign agreements to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by a certain date. However, the United States has been reluctant. I think that what this article shows, in particular, is the way in which Chinese and espeically Japanese corporations continue to be more forward-thinking than American ones. They anticipated people becoming more concerned about the environment as well as gas prices and developed the hybrid car. In the same way, these corporations are taking the steps to develop more natural gas resources before its far too late. I think this is something American corporations should take heed of, seeing as we are the ones producing the most greenhouse gas emissions and the problem is only getting worse.

  4. I understand the confusion between government mandates on environmental issues in the past and the businesses today. I would like to think that these businesses are just forward thinking, but I can see a different type of motivation, the most powerful of all: money. The Japanese may have had the environment in mind when they invented hybrid cars, but today, they’re the ones making all the money. They saw the conflict between the world and the environment and wanted to capitalize on it. This could also be the motivation behind businesses’ goals to produce less greenhouse gasses. Forward thinkers can see the problems of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming as well as projected solutions. Carbon markets could be the future in which emissions are tied to the economy, with lower emissions producers able to sell their carbon credits to other countries. If Chinese and Japanese businesses work together now to reduce their emissions, they could be making big money in the future. That’s why businesses are stepping up instead of the government. Instead of being hit hard financially in the future, businesses are changing their ways early to gain financially in the end. Although I sound negative, it is important to look at this issue from an environmental standpoint. Regardless of the businesses’ motives, greenhouse gasses are being decreased, which is definitely a good thing in our warming world.

  5. I applaud China and Japan for setting a positive example for other countries. However, I am mostly concerned about two potential long-term results. First, I agree with those of you who stated that the China and Japan’s agreement might slightly reduce greenhouse gases that cause global warming, but the cooperation of the U.S. is necessary in order to generate significant reduction. Secondly, as stated earlier, the U.S. could lose a valued position in the international system if it continues to shy away from enacting key reforms.
    The U.S. is an example for many countries in areas such s human rights, democracy, and military power. However, in 2001, President Bush abandoned the Kyoto Protocol, which urges countries reduce greenhouse gases attributed to causing global warming. It is reasonable to assume that the U.S. would decide to take the lead in reducing greenhouse; in Great Decision 2007, statistics indicated, “in 2000, the U.S. led the world in greenhouse gas emissions with 21 %, followed by China at 15 %. No other country reached 6 %.”
    Contrary to U.S. action, both China and Japan have signed the Kyoto Protocol. The two countries have also participated in additional environmental reforms independent from the treaty such as developing environmental technologies and using alternative sources other than burning fuel and coal.
    Research has shown that greenhouse gases perpetuate global warming which can cause flooding, loss to biodiversity, widespread disease, and extreme weather such as Hurricane Katrina. While China and Japan are currently taking a stand on important environmental concerns such as global warming and climate change, the U.S. appears unconcerned and nonchalant about the hazards of global warming internationally, as well as the negative impact global warming in our own country.

  6. I am very impressed that Japanese and Chinese corporations came together for the good of the environment. I think it is incredibly interesting, however, that the leaders of Japan and China were there to witness the signing, but that they did not sign the document too. Perhaps it comes down to enforcement. I could believe that the governments are reluctant to sign anything that would lock them into reducing carbon emissions, particularly if the agreement has penalties for not reducing emissions enough. I think we should look at the bright side of this agreement. While Prime Minister Abe and Premier Wen Jiabao did not sign on, their presence at the signing represents a positive attitude toward reduction in carbon emissions. This is a first step. With corporations signing on, it can only be a matter of time before the governments themselves sign on. Hopefully this will encourage other countries, such as the U.S., to also reduce their carbon emissions. We can only hope that the President elected in 2008 will start to take the environment seriously, before it’s too late.

  7. Although it is significant that Chinese and Japanese corporations are working together to reduce carbon emissions, there are two aspects of this agreement that, to me, seem far more important.
    First of all, this is a huge step for China, a state that has been extremely reluctant (even moreso than the United States, if often seems) to take on the issue of global warming. That these rapidly expanding Chinese corporations are willing to recognize and address the problem is very hopeful. Perhaps it will also shame the United States government and corporations into following their lead. Since technically, the United States is still seen as “more developed” than China, it is possible, if probably unlikely, that this action will motivate the United States to do the same.
    Secondly, I think it is interesting that you point out that the heads of state did not actually sign the agreement, but the heads of corporations. Although many might see this as a weakness, I see it as a great step forward for Chinese-Japanese relations. The relationship has been extremely volatile and strained, historically, and it seems as if any cooperation should be looked upon as hopeful. Perhaps it can be a step forward in relations between the governments; extensive cooperation between Japan and China would be beneficial for both countries, and for the world. It would certainly make the operations of the United Nations go more smoothly.

  8. I also applaud these two corporations for working together to improve the environment. I think this is truely a unique case when a corporation is wanting to take action in improving environmental standards. While this is a great step for the environment the even larger picture shows that this is an amazing step for Chinese-Japanese relations. For two countries with a history of such strong dis-like of one another to find a way to work together to solve such an important global issue is very promising. It would be great to see more companies from different countries pledge to work together about this issue.


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