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5.0 out of 5 stars The Eco Challenges Facing Japan, October 19, 2011
This review is from: Japan's Tipping Point: Crucial Choices in the Post-Fukushima World (Kindle Edition)
After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the eyes of the world were on Japan. In Mark Pendergrast's e-book, "Japan's Tipping Point," he makes the case for why attention should more broadly focus on the state of the island nation's overall environmental strategies. Japan is a tiny but developed country that imports all of its fossil fuels and has, at least until recently, merrily relied on nuclear power. Still, it has enjoyed a reputation for being a leader in environmentally innovative policies. (The much-hyped Eco-Model City program, for example.) But, as Pendergrast reveals, that reputation is at least partly smoke-and-mirrors. Its renewable energy initiatives lag behind Europe and North America and in some cases even China (an analogy that would be devestating to most Japanese). The story has no lack of strong characters, like Tetsunari Iida, the Ralph Nader of Japan's nuclear industry who heads the Tokyo-based Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies, and Naoto Kan, a former Prime Minister and born-again environmentalist who forced a reluctant government to introduce subsidies for wind, biomass, geothermal, solar hot water and micro-hydro development. In fact, Pendergrast believes Japan's main challenge lies in overcoming its own internal political & cultural shortcomings. Japan is important to us all, he writes, because it "is the proverbial canary in the coalmine. As an industrialized island nation, it is facing the same issues as the rest of the globe, only sooner and more urgently." A must-read for everyone interested in the daunting environmental issues facing the world.
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