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Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013

READERS IN COUNCIL

Enough fossil-fuel nonsense


By GABRIELE HADL
Kyoto

Regarding the Jan. 3 editorial "New fossil fuel resources": We already have access to vastly more fossil fuels than is reasonable to use. To sink money into developing new types is economic and environmental nonsense (except perhaps in the very short term).

The future is in low-carbon technologies, in which Japan would already be the world leader if it had not sunk all its political capital into the irresponsible nuclear/coal hybrid energy policy.

Yes, coal has to go as soon as possible, but as the United States' top climate scientist James Hansen says, "the majority of fossil fuel must stay in the ground" if we do not want to fall over the climate cliff." And believe me, we don't.

The 4-plus-degree-Celsius rise in average global temperatures within our kids' lifetimes, which we are just about committed to, will mean major disruptions in every area of civilization.

Plenty of reputable research, including by the Earth Policy Institute, shows that Japan could more than cover its energy needs with wind, solar and new alternatives such as tidal and wave power and geothermal. What's needed is political will — hopefully a renewable resource even in Japan.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer's own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.


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