Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
I can’t decide if it is the apparent naiveté, or the equally apparent preying on public gullibility by elected administrations here and abroad over the matters of global warming, reduction of fossil fuel emissions, environmental protection and rehabilitation, etc., that upsets me the most. The caption to the May 22, 2007 photograph of Wakayama Prefectural Government officials getting a head start on this year’s Cool Biz campaign spells it out succinctly: “By adhering to a ‘No tie, no jacket,’policy, the civil servants hope to reduce electricity use and slow global warming during another hot summer.” They can’t be serious.
Of course, reducing energy use is a good thing for many reasons. And, going without jackets and neckties is also a good thing, if only for simple comfort. But it mocks us when officialdom says, and when media repeat, that things like reducing electricity use, converting to hybrid cars, using solar and wind power generators, recycling trash, or even practicing “Cool Biz” will reduce global warming.
They won’t, of course. The climate is warming and there is nothing we can do to stop it. If reducing energy use and protecting the environment today have any effect at all they will not be apparent for centuries, if at all. The climate is warming not because of the effects of the Industrial Revolution of the last two centuries, but because of the cumulative effects of the Agricultural Revolution of the last ten millennia. So, the causes of the current warming date from millennia past, and whether nations reduce their gas emissions to 1990s level or not is neither here nor there. Still, if it makes people feel better about themselves, why not?
None of this means that we ought to do nothing by way of caring for the environment. But it does mean that we ought to recognize what we are doing it for, and saving the climate is not it. But I could be wrong.