Tokyo Metropolitan Government Greenhouse Gas Emissions Program

Japan Times published an article on Tokyo’s new greenhouse gas emissions regime:

Tokyo’s CO2 cap-and-trade may set national standard.

by Maya Kaneko

Japan Times, Thursday , April 8th.

Financial Times also has an article on Tokyo’s new program.

Excerpts from the Japan Times article:

Under the leadership of Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, Tokyo aims to slash its carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gas emissions by 25 percent compared with 2000 levels by 2020. The program caps energy-related carbon dioxide emissions from some 1,330 offices and factories in the capital and allows for trading of emissions credits.

About 1,330 offices, commercial buildings and factories that annually consume the crude oil equivalent of more than 1,500 kiloliters of energy will be required to cut total carbon dioxide emissions over the fiscal 2010-2014 period by 6 percent to 8 percent from base-year levels.

Base-year levels are calculated from average emissions over a past period of three consecutive years between fiscal 2002 and 2007. Office buildings face an 8 percent target and factories are subject to a 6 percent goal.

In the fiscal 2015-2019 second phase, they will be required to slash emissions by 17 percent from their base-year levels.

To meet the targets, offices and factories can either make efforts on their own, such as updating to energy-saving equipment, or purchase emissions credits from other entities that have reduced their carbon dioxide output by more than the obligated levels in a system known as cap and trade.

They can also buy credits earned through reduction efforts by small and medium-size companies in Tokyo and the entities’ large-scale branch offices outside the capital. Renewable energy certificates issued by power generators can be also purchased.

Life Cycle Thinking and Assessment

The European Commission has created a Web site devoted to the environmental impact of designing, manufacturing, and disposing of products, services, and energy. The site includes publications and a glossary. Life cycle information impacts agriculture, manufacturing, energy, waste management, constriction, and retail sales.

Life Cycle Thinking and Assessment

From the description

Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) seeks to identify possible improvements to goods and services in the form of lower environmental impacts and reduced use of resources across all life cycle stages. This begins with raw material extraction and conversion, then manufacture and distribution, through to use and/or consumption. It ends with re-use, recycling of materials, energy recovery and ultimate disposal.

The key aim of Life Cycle Thinking is to avoid burden shifting. This means minimising impacts at one stage of the life cycle, or in a geographic region, or in a particular impact category, while helping to avoid increases elsewhere. For example, saving energy during the use phase of a product, while not increasing the amount of material needed to provide it.

Taking a life cycle perspective requires a policy developer, environmental manager or product designer to look beyond their own knowledge and in-house data. It requires cooperation up and down the supply chain. At the same time, it also provides an opportunity to use the knowledge that has been gathered to gain signicant economic advantages.

Book – Greening Justice: Creating and Improving Environmental Courts

The University of Denver has posted an online version of the following book on environmental courts in foreign countries.

Greening Justice: Creating and Improving Environmental Courts

George Pring and Katherine Pring

Access Initiative, 2009

Book description:

Over the last three decades judicial institutions in some

countries have responded to environmental challenges

in innovative ways. Perhaps the best example is the

Green Bench of the Supreme Court of India that hears

public interest environmental cases filed by citizens.

In other countries, Governments have set up specialized

environmental courts and tribunals. The Land and

Environment Court of New South Wales, Australia, is a

leading example of a specialized court. Over 350 specialized

environmental courts and tribunals have been

established in 41 countries.

Nevertheless, most citizens still lack adequate access to

justice. Comparative research to help us with a deeper

understanding of the capabilities and impact of these

institutions is almost non-existent. Greening Justice:

Creating and Improving Environmental Courts and Tribunals

seeks to fill this knowledge gap in the hope that all

those involved in creating or improving these specialized

institutions will have the benefit of a growing body

of global experiences.

George and Catherine Pring, a professor at the University

of Denver Sturm College of Law and a professional

mediator, respectively, from Colorado, authored this

volume based on field research they completed over the

last two years. They have interviewed judges, lawyers,

litigants, officials, and civil society representatives in

dozens of countries to unravel the key characteristics —

the “building blocks” — which contribute to making

environmental courts and tribunals effective in providing

citizen access to justice in environmental matters.

They identified 12 such characteristics and present them

with examples of successes and failures from around

the world. For those involved in creating or improving

environmental courts and tribunals, one of the most

useful aspects is the examples of best available practices

relating to each of the 12 characteristics. The volume

also provides a framework against which to assess existing

or proposed institutions.

U.S. Government Blogs Organized by Subject, which provides official information and services from the United States Government, has recently organized federal government blogs by subject.

Under the current organization there are 11 categories:

  1. Business and Economics Blogs: Small business owners, economics news…
  2. Defense and International Relations Blogs: Military, foreign policy, veterans…
  3. Environment, Energy, and Agriculture Blogs: Agriculture, environmental protection, saving energy…
  4. Family, Home, and Community Blogs: Human services, community development, middle class…
  5. Health and Nutrition Blogs: Medicine, public health…
  6. History, Arts, and Culture Blogs: Museums, libraries…
  7. Jobs, Education, and Volunteerism Blogs: Volunteering, employment…
  8. Public Safety and Law Blogs: Security, law enforcement, disasters, emergencies…
  9. Reference and General Government Blogs: Grants, White House…
  10. Science and Technology Blogs: Information technology, Internet security…
  11. Travel and Recreation Blogs: Transportation, parks…

Hat tip to: ResourceShelf.