(Message from Prof. Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, the director general of CRDS)
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is an urgent and important issue for the whole country. Especially since advanced technology is expected to play a central role, the scientific community of industry, government and academia needs to address this matter with their utmost effort.
In this strategic proposal, the future direction of the research and development for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions such as CO2 (carbon dioxide) is proposed.
The Hatoyama Cabinet declared his policy worldwide to reduce Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020 compared to the 1990 level. Furthermore, Japan is to aim at reducing the level by 60 – 80% by 2050.
Considering that the only products which have industrial competitiveness in the current global market are limited to sustainable products related to renewable energy or energy conservation, estimating a low reduction rate would mean giving up on improving competitiveness. In light of this, aiming for a 25% reduction rate would be nothing less than declaring a positive intention of maintaining a high level of industrial competitiveness continuously into the future.
Therefore, a 25% reduction can only be fulfilled by enhancing the nation’s strength with the efforts of the whole society including the revitalization and innovation of industries. With this aggressive goal in mind, it will require efforts in every sector of government, industry and the nation to accomplish the task. We understand that we need to make a national commitment to address this issue, while establishing a new cooperative framework which we have never experienced before. Among these, in the research and development of science and technology, we need to initiate researches urgently by making positive plans describing in detail the priority issues and implementation of the related disciplines which include a wide range of research processes such as discovery and basic research, design and engineering, product development, etc. Judging from the characteristics of scientific researches, though the goal of these plans will be set to 2020, it is only natural to expect keeping in mind the fact that these researches will deeply progress and contribute for a long time in the coming future. 2020 is closing in fast and we can only make a truly effective solution by placing it in a long-term perspective.
The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is a new issue even in science and technology, so advanced technology plays an important role. The science community has the responsibility to expand the possibility of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions through basic research, while at the same time, provide the necessary science and technology to all sectors whenever requested in a timely fashion.
The necessary science and technology covers a wide range from the basic researches of nanotechnology and life sciences to system technology for commercialization or a specific product design and manufacturing technology. Therefore, Japan’s science community needs to concentrate their scientific wisdom to promote R & D, and realize scientific and technological innovation under the cooperation of industry, academia and government, by overcoming not only the barrier between natural science and social science but also the barrier between basic research and applied research.
In order to meet such needs, scientists must act urgently. Deepening and accelerating researches goes without saying. They also need to start action immediately, building discussions, weaving new networks at universities, research institutes and academic meetings, in order to provide the necessary and appropriate information to society.
Needless to say, the full support of government and funding organizations will be indispensable towards the actions of the scientific communities trying hard to realize the significant reduction goal.
With this proposal we hope to stir up broad and diversified discussions and actions which will lead to the actual reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.