COPENHAGEN — The home of the Kyoto Protocol has achieved significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions over the past couple of years and can show others how the world's major cities are able to combat global warming and climate change on their own, regardless of what national governments may do, Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa said Tuesday.
Speaking at an event at the climate change summit sponsored by Local Governments for Sustainability, Kadokawa said that while Japan's emissions as a whole have increased, Kyoto's have fallen.
"In 2007, Japan's greenhouse gas emissions were 7.37 million tons, a 9 percent increase over the previous year. But the city of Kyoto reduced its emissions by 4.5 percent in 2007 compared with the previous year, and we aim for a 10 percent reduction overall by 2010," Kadokawa told the international group of local governments, which has set emissions reductions targets that are often much stricter than their national counterparts.
The mayor noted that over the past few years, Kyoto, a city of about 1.5 million people, has taken steps to reduce its emissions, particularly in the transport and industrial sectors.
"We've introduced ordinances that allow for the collection of used cooking oil. It's refined into bio-diesel that runs 170 municipal trucks and 95 city buses. The used oil is picked up at 1,400 collection points around Kyoto. We are also making efforts to reduce garbage collection – by 25 percent and in 2004, we passed a local ordinance to reduce greenhouse gases. About 140 business are now in compliance with this ordinance,” Kadokawa said.
Kyoto is a city of traditions, he said, one of which is not to be wasteful, especially in the household. This tradition forms the basis of the municipal ordinances, which aim to curb greenhouse gas emissions through recycling and cutting waste, Kadowaki said.
Asked about the future of the Kyoto Protocol, Kadokawa echoed the Japanese government’s position that although the treaty is the only legal instrument the world has to reduce emissions, it is critical to ensure future emission cuts through an agreement that includes both the U.S. and China.