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Think about environmental issues
- False issues called global warming -

Kiyohiko Ikeda,
Professor of Faculty of International Liberal Studies, Waseda University

CO2 reduction that produces new disadvantages

When environmental issues are talked about, only global warming issues due to man-caused CO2 emission come under close scrutiny, but there are also many other environmental issues. Environmental issues are primarily circumstances in which human activities deteriorate environment. Although human beings generally act for the improvement of their living conditions, their activities change the present global environment more or less and often cause environmental issues.

Agriculture, for example, inevitably comes into effect based on the alteration of the natural ecosystems. If any alteration of the natural ecosystems should be considered as environmental deterioration, agriculture itself cannot help but become environmental issues. Agriculture itself, however, is not generally considered as environmental issues. This must be because advantages agriculture provides to human beings are far larger than disadvantages.

When it is considered that advantages are larger than disadvantages, it is naturally important to make efforts to reduce as many disadvantages as possible. In case of agriculture, efforts to avoid the excess use of pesticides and to use water so as to avoid a large decrease in the flow of a river. A problem occurs when efforts to reduce disadvantages cause other disadvantages. When disadvantages produced by human activities to the nature are recognized as primary environmental issues, disadvantages caused by efforts to reduce these disadvantages can be called secondary environmental issues.

I think that today's fashionable CO2 reduction movements called global warming prevention are really these secondary environmental issues.

Fear of oil resource depletion

The use of fossil fuel provided large advantages to human beings. The world population, which was 1.65 billion at the beginning of the 20th century when the use of petroleum started in full swing, is 6.8 billion now. This is because petroleum energy extended the range of human activities and caused the increase of production of food. But for petroleum, they could not have produced fertilizers, cultivated fields effectively, hauled in a great catch of fish, and built many cities.

Petroleum resources are naturally finite. Experts estimate that the peak-out (production does not catch up with demand) will come ten years later. When petroleum will be depleted, what will happen? Energy and food prices will rise rapidly, jobless people will increase drastically in number, many people will face starvation, and the world will be thrown in a panic. When considered as such, the very use of petroleum is primary environmental issues. To solve these environmental issues, it is necessary to develop energy sources alternative to petroleum or to reduce the world population to a level at which human beings can live without their present living levels dropped so large without petroleum.

They were probably afraid of accepting these situations coolly. Many people ran toward a trivial false issue that environmental issues caused by the use of fossil fuel were global warming. It seems certain that CO2 emission caused by the use of fossil fuel certainly has a positive effect more or less on a rise in global temperature. If the largest disadvantage caused by the use of fossil fuel is global warming, therefore, CO2 reduction has significant meaning. On all accounts, however, global warming is not so large a problem as energy depletion.

Ineffective CO2 reduction measures

If CO2 could be reduced without so large costs, there is naturally no reason to object to reduction. Unfortunately, CO2 reduction demands extreme costs and has very few effects for them. For example, Japan intends to pour tax money of one trillion yen or more a year to observe the Kyoto Protocol, which established the CO2 reduction goals of the developed countries; even if Japan will have observed the Kyoto Protocol (in reality, Japan does not observe it), it contributes to the reduction of a rise in global temperature 100 years later only by 0.004 C. A drop water thrown on a red-hot water. In short, enormous costs cannot prevent global warming. Since the wasteful spending of tax money is a large disadvantage, the CO2 reduction measures are a typical example of secondary environmental issues, in which the elimination of disadvantages causes other disadvantages.

Collective efforts to develop alternative energy

To address energy depletion and food shortage, the largest environmental issues that human beings face, collective efforts should be made to develop alternative energy. Sunlight, wind force, geothermal heat, etc. are promising candidates for energy sources; the manufacture of efficient equipment requires vast development costs, and the practical use of it requires energy as well. Sunlight falls from the sky, but a photovoltaic power plant does not. At present, there is no other way than using petroleum energy to construct a plant. In other words, unless we continue to emit CO2 to improve infrastructure for alternative energy, we will have dark future.

Another large problem is that no alternative energy more efficient than planting may be discovered after many trials. In this case, human beings will be forced to face a large problem, how the world population should be reduced in peace. At any rate, there is no time to get involved in a false issue of CO2 reduction.

Kiyohiko Ikeda/ Professor of Faculty of International Liberal Studies

Born in Tokyo in 1947. Graduated from Zoological Science Course, Biology Department, Faculty of Science, Tokyo University of Education. After a teacher of a municipal high school, passed through Biological Science Doctor Course, Faculty of Science, Graduate School of Tokyo Metropolitan University. After a professor of Human sciences, Faculty of Education, University of Yamanashi. stay in present post from 2004. Main research themes include theoretical biology, research on type of life, and ecology and taxonomy of insects. Acts not only in the field of biology but also in versatile critical essays.

Books in 2008
"How to think about the conquest of belief conflict" Structural constructivism research 2
"Culture of cells, Society of humans-decipher by structuralism science" Kitaooji Shobo Publishing
"Understand genes!"Chikuma primer shinsho 87
"My own body doomed to extinction before long" Kadokawa Sofia Bunko 372
"Real environmental issues" joint authorship, Shinchosha Publishing
"Justice cannot save the earth" joint authorship, Shinchosha Publishing (will be published in October)
Other many books