Giving his address at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) on Wednesday, Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba pledged $3 billion in aid from Japan over the next three years to go to developing countries trying to work towards a green economy. With the conference taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Genba called on the other countries present to help contribute in similar ways to create an economy with efficient use of energy and resources.
More than 100 government leaders are present at the conference, working on how to balance economic development and environmental conservation. Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. Secretary-General, said that the world was watching this conference to see if any real action will come of their words, and this opportunity should not be wasted. On Tuesday, the 191 U.N. member-countries reached an agreement on accelerating sustainable development, and Friday, at the Rio+20 conclusion, will see the results presented to Heads of State for adoption.
In Genba’s call to other nations for contributions, he commented that Japan’s efforts on energy-saving and recycling would also be of use. It could be me, but this seems to be slightly conflicting with Japan’s recent behavior. Only now, after the country has suffered through the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl, is the government trying to make a real push towards renewable energy sources. They have just approved significant pricing incentives for companies looking to provide energy from sources like solar and wind, and now the country is on the tip of billions of dollars in investment pouring in from companies both inside Japan and out. But right along side those actions, Prime Minister Noda called for a return to the use of nuclear power, even after all 50 of Japan’s reactors were ordered to be shutdown after the Fukushima disaster. Despite strong protest from the Japanese public and the governments of other nations, the government has persisted in its choice. I think its great that Japan wants to support developing countries work towards a green economy, but they need to do a better job following their own examples at home.