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Toward 25% Reduction in CO2 Emissions-W-BRIDGE Environmental Conservation Aims

Kenji Horiguchi
Professor, School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University
W-BRIDGE Project Director

A year has passed since a joint project based on a new concept targeting global warming was launched through a partnership between the Bridgestone Corporation and Waseda University. Things have changed at a more rapid rate than we could have imagined during this period. As the Hatoyama administration announced its medium term goals for reduction by 2020-declaring to the world that they would achieve a "25 percent reduction compared with 1990 levels"-and as awareness of biological diversity has increased sharply, issues such as the balance of global warming countermeasures have come to the fore.

An industrial-academic-public alliance is vital

Of course, revolutionary technological development and system design are crucial in addressing these issues, and it goes without saying that there is an urgent call for universities to contribute in this field as well. The W-Bridge One Year Anniversary Symposium is scheduled to be held at the Okuma Auditorium on November 28, 2009 where distinguished members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (IPCC), Mr. Shuzo Nishioka (Visiting Research Fellow at the National Environmental Research Laboratory) and Mr. Nobuo Mimura (Vice Chancellor of Ibaraki University), will emphatically urge that: Responding to global warming through technology and institutions alone is an uphill battle. An apparatus grounded in public and corporate involvement is absolutely indispensable. It is this very objective of our project-the industrial-academic-public bridge and alliance-that is key.

Masayuki Horio (Professor and Deputy Director of W-BRIDGE), who also serves as the Regional Director of the Community-Based Global Warming Reduction and Sustainability Project at the independent administrative institution Japan Science and Technology (JST), further states that "Today, we recognize the importance of 'social technology.' The implementation of systematic community-based global warming countermeasures and 'appropriate' technologies is essential."

Based on the awareness of these issues, our project does not comprise stratified, specialized fields to address environmental problems. Instead, it involves a new approach, bidirectional bridging across various domains from various angles.
These include four domains:

1) The Balance of Global Warming Countermeasures and Protecting Biological Diversity (Bridging Diverse Global Solutions for Environmental Problems: Forming Common Understanding and Alliance among Stakeholders in Sustainable Human Activity and Environmental Conservation)

2) The Balance of Popular Lifestyles and Environmental Conservation Activities (Global Bridging among Environmental Activists Who Both Make Use of and Conserve the Environment: Forming Common Understanding and Alliance among Stakeholders in Sustainable Human Activity and Environmental Conservation)

3) Setting Goals from a Next-Generation Perspective for Effective and Efficient Environmental Improvement Techniques (Solid Bridging toward a Sound Future: Action Design through Medium-term and Long-term Goal Design and Back-Casting Techniques)

4) Effectively Reporting Environmental Information to the World, Reporting Techniques (Bridging Environmental Information, the Vital Link between the Region and the World: Sharing Current Ideas and Findings among Japan and Regions Throughout the World Where Environmental Information is Reported) There are a total of twelve currently active studies/research activities, six ongoing and six new (with four that have already yielded results and been concluded).

Corporate, university, and public perspectives

Mr. Yasushi Hirata, Head of the Bridgestone Corporation Environmental Development Headquarters-who has made significant contributions in developing this project and who serves as deputy director-describes the determination to: "Pursue solutions through W-BRIDGE that cannot be achieved through traditional industrial and academic research involving a narrow scope, such as environmental activities by a single corporation or specific technological development. By actively participating in the development of activities emphasizing not only the perspective of industry and academia, but also the perspective of humans and nature, we are determined to incorporate various elements and implement them in environmental management for issues such as the balance of rubber plantations and biological diversity, the creation of guidelines and frameworks for the promotion of environmental activities, and more."

Yasushi Hirata, Head of the Bridgestone Corporation Environmental Development Headquarters

As the project gets into full swing in the next stage, voluntary activities are underway, such as the joint Sustainable Rubber Production Project run by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and regional Indonesian NGOs, as well as joint projects among Ibaraki University and regional chambers of commerce. While on the one hand Waseda University has accomplished researchers who conduct pioneering research (such as Research on Reforestation of Denuded Land, primarily by Professor Yasushi Morikawa, on the Faculty of Human Sciences) and achieve steady results, there are also young researchers here at Waseda and specialists from within as well as outside the university who add investigative elements and work day and night to create unique research results by motivating students and local people to participate in research and environmental activities and developing local environmental activities. One characteristic of the project is that each project head carves out a new direction which is based on their previous research and which is also appropriate for W-BRIDGE.

Further, in terms of how to report these achievements, we are actively drawing on our connections in journalism, another strong point here at Waseda. Planned activities include publishing academic journals based on these new concepts and student-edited project reports.

Relative to the vastness of these problems, we have only just begun our activities, but with the vital participation of so many of you, we endeavor to make this a truly significant project.

Reference URL

W-BRIDGE Homepage www.w-bridge.jp/ www.w-bridge.jp/

Kenji Horiguchi
Professor, School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University; W-BRIDGE Project Director

Biographical summary
Professor Horiguchi was born in 1942 and graduated with an undergraduate degree from the School of Political Science and Economics at Waseda University in 1965. Professor Horiguchi began work in the Doctoral Program in the Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences at the University of Tokyo in 1968 and later earned his PhD in Agricultural Sciences there. Professor Horiguchi held positions including Lecturer at Kagoshima University and Professor at Tokyo University of Agriculture before beginning at his current position in 1991. Professor Horiguchi was head of the Department of Political Science and Economics in 1998 and Vice President as well as Executive Director of Waseda University since 2002. His field of specialization is Agricultural Economics. Professor Horiguchi has also served in positions such as President of the Agricultural Economics Society of Japan (2002-2004). Primary works include his collaboration A Warning to a Major Food Importer (Rural Culture Association Japan, 1993-recipient of the National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA) Tohata Prize in the subsequent year), and Modern America/Agriculture (Taishukan, 2004).