In an effort to stop the warming of global scale, the Framework Convention on Climate Change was concluded in 1992 at the Earth Summit held in Brazil, and it went into effect in 1994. At present, a total of 187 countries including Japan as well as the European Community have ratified the convention. In order to achieve the goal of this convention, a protocol to make it mandatory to reduce the emission of six types of gasses causing greenhouse effect, namely carbon dioxide, was adopted in 1997 at the Third Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP3) held in Kyoto. The Kyoto Protocol will finally come into effect in February 2005 with the ratification of Russia in November 2004. This protocol obliges developed countries to reduce gasses causing greenhouse effect by certain degrees compared to that of the year 1990 (6% for Japan, 7% for U.S., and 8% for EU) during the period of 2008 to 2012.
In Japan, the central and local governments as well as private corporations and citizens have been working on introducing systems to achieve that target of reducing emission, cooperating internationally with such measures as emission trading. However, the emission of gasses causing greenhouse effect is rather on the increase in Japan, and that a reduction of 14% has become necessary to achieve the said target.
In this background, besides reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emitted, which is a matter of course, absorption and fixation of carbon dioxide by plants, namely forests, has been expected to be highly effective, and that concrete measures have already started. In this special report, the current situation surrounding environmental conservation technologies using plants as a means in absorbing carbon dioxide will be explained.
Incidentally, plants, while expected to perform as a means in absorbing carbon dioxide, must be maintained to function properly to enable humans and nature to live together and conserve biological diversity, all in an effort to sustain the healthy state of our country. Accordingly, this special report also elaborates on efforts in conserving primitive landscapes, restoring to the status quo of places where nature has been destroyed, as well as the situations and the idea on the application of countermeasure technologies at city parks, green areas in factories and schools, in addition to activities to create and maintain forests as a means in absorbing carbon dioxide.