Industry stands out in Okayama's CO2 emission
Kurashiki City's Measures Against Global Warming—priority measures

Reduce annual average emissions during 2008 to 2012 by 6% from 1990 levels. This is the one of the targets imposed on Japan for greenhouse gas emissions set during the Kyoto Protocol. There is not even a slight chance of achieving this no matter how favorably we look at it. 2005 even marked an 8.1% increase on the contrary. In Okayama Prefecture where Kurashiki-city is located, the situation is worse, making it difficult to believe it actually aims to become an environmentally advanced prefecture. CO2 emissions have continued to increase in these past years, the total reaching 53,593,000 tons in fiscal year 2003. A 7.2% increase compared to the level in 1990. Okayama targets a 6.5% decrease from 1990 and here, too, accomplishing the target seems impossible.
Looking at the breakdown of Okayama prefecture's CO2 emission, industry accounts for 80% and ranks at the top of the offenders list.Compared to the national average, this difference stands out. (Graph) The reason for this is obvious; the Mizushima Coastal Industrial Zone located in Kurashiki-city. Some say that the Industrial Zone accounts for 80% of Okayama's industrial CO2 emissions. I called Kurashiki-city only to find out they do not keep a track of green house gas or CO2 rates of the city. If such data did exist and we were able to compare it with other cities, Kurashiki- city would definitely be among the nation's worst.

This year, Kurashiki-city revised its Basic Plan on the Environment drawn up in 2000 for the first time in seven years. Local news papers reported that under the revision, focus had shifted to measures against global warming. However, I went through the actual revision to find that changes were made only in a small part of the plan. The table on the right shows objectives added as measures against global warming.
Characteristic of Kurashiki is "promoting use of unused energy in the Mizushima Coastal Industrial Zone." This is a system to use heat generated from industrial activities as energy. The city calculates that this system can contribute to cutting back 0.8 million tons of CO2 annually.
However, if Kurashiki is serious about contributing to the prevention against global warming, its measures against the Industrial Zone are far from enough. Another plan, followed by the next, involving not only the companies that make up the Industrial Zone but also Okayama Prefecture who promoted them needs to be devised. That is the kind of leadership and initiative I wish to see in Kurashiki-city. So we do not become notorious for being "a city discharging green house gas."

Heat Island Phenomenon in Kurashiki!

Difference from suburban areas is clear.Okayama heat island.

It points to a phenomenon in which air temperature rises in urban areas such as Tokyo and Osaka. There is a growing concern over its affect on humans such as change not only in our ecosystems but also the increase of heat stroke victims in summer.
This phenomenon has also been reported in Okayama-city (population 0.7 million) which is located next to Kurashiki. Dr. Yukitaka Ohashi, who teaches at the Okayama University of Science, Department of Bio and Geo-sphere System Science, and graduate student Mr. Yoshinori Shigeta have been studying the heat island phenomenon in Okayama-city. Dr.Ohashi says, "The temperature on earth is said to have increased 0.6 degrees due to global warming, but that figure in urban areas such as Tokyo is reported to be five to six times more. However, heat island is not necessarily a phenomenon limited to big cities."
Their studies reveal that the phenomenon is occurring in Okayama- city. (Chart) For instance, detected during summer nights is the area around Omoto Station, which is a short distance away from JR Okayama Station. Also around JR Okayama Station during winter nights as to be expected. The figures coincide with the characteristic of the phenomenon, which occurs in areas where human activities are centered. What is the situation in Kurashiki-city with a population of 470,000 ? "There is a good possibility", says Dr. Ohashi. "While it is not as great as Okayama, the area around JR Kurashiki Station is densely populated. Heat island is detected in cities with population of tens of thousands."
Mizushima, Tamashima, and Kojima districts in Kurashiki-city each have a population of 70,000. However, the phenomenon is rare in coastal areas thanks to cool winds from the ocean. The area around JR Kurashiki station is suspected. "There are many tourists and the population is more concentrated during the day. The rest will depend on how much heat is emitted in the air." Dr. Ohashi who had finished his studies of Okayama-city is considering conducting his next study in Kurashiki-city.