Use of nuclear energy reinforces Kyoto Protocol

July 19, 2007 - 0:0

TEHRAN - A five-person Japanese delegation of professors of Tama University Renaissance Centre, four of whom are also managers of leading companies, arrived in Tehran on Tuesday to meet Iranian officials and discuss issues related to environmental problems and global warming.

The Japanese delegation has traveled to Iran to learn how Iran’s religion and culture can be used to find solutions to the problem of global warming. On Wednesday, the delegation held talks on environmental protection with Tehran Times and Mehr News Agency Managing Director Parviz Esmaeili. Professor Hiroshi Fukino said, “Now global warming and climate change is the number one issue in the world.” Commenting on the issue of global warming and ways to deal with it, Esmaeili stated that sensitivity about the environment is increasing nowadays. He went on to say that countries like Japan are trying to convince the United States to sign the Kyoto Protocol, adding, “However, we do not want to adopt a politicized stance on the issue of the environment.” Producing energy and protecting the environment are two important issues which are sometimes at odds with each other, he noted. Using modern types of energy like nuclear, wind, and solar energy and reducing the use of fossil fuels are some of the paths that can be taken to resolve the paradox, he added. “Even if we have great reserves of fossil fuel energy resources, we should avoid using them,” he suggested. The expanded use of nuclear energy can assist in the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, he stated. The use of nuclear energy by industries can help save the environment; and preventing the expansion of deserts through forestation programs, reprocessing industrial waste, and recycling are also essential, he said. Educating the people of developing and undeveloped countries about the need to respect and protect the environment is also very important, he added. A member of the Japanese delegation asked, “What viewpoints or lifestyles in Iranian traditional culture and Islam can help resolve the problem of global warming?” Esmaeili replied, “In Islam, social rights have a priority over personal rights, and no Muslim is allowed to harm other Muslims.” Islam encourages people to use everything in the optimal manner and the Quran commands Muslims to only use as much food and other goods as is necessary and to avoid extravagance, he added. “These are the foundations on which a culture of caring for the environment can be built,” he observed. Iranians traditionally like to have small gardens in the yards of their house and keep flowerpots in their houses, he added. Iranians love green nature, but they believe the government does not pay enough attention to this issue, Esmaeili stated. For example, the government plans to build a road from Tehran to northern Iran, where there are unique forests, so a large swathe of forested area must be destroyed, and this is reflected in the media, but the people are not told about the new forests that are being planted, he added. Asked if Islamic countries, including Iran, can cooperate with one another to help prevent global warming, Esmaeili criticized the Organization of the Islamic Conference, saying that it has many committees focusing on various issues but no committee for environmental issues. However, regional organizations like the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) can undertake some activities on this issue, he noted. Unfortunately, Middle Eastern countries are not very concerned about environmental issues, Esmaeili lamented, saying, “They care more about what they eat than what they breathe.” However, Iran has become more concerned about the environment over the past ten years, and the latest measures that the Iranian government has adopted for rationing gasoline contribute to the protection of the environment, he pointed out. NGOs and individuals working on environmental issues should support such moves by the government, he added. Fukino stated that the United States is playing the greatest role in damaging the ozone layer and polluting the Earth. The U.S. share of pollution is 25 percent, whereas all other industrialized countries, including Japan, account for another 25 percent, he explained. The professor urged Iran to present an initiative challenging industrialized countries about the environmental damage that they cause and to attempt to gain the support of other countries. Esmaeili criticized Japan for its politically motivated decisions to withdraw from some joint projects with Iran such as the Azadegan oil field, the Imam Khomeini Petrochemical Project, and the Karun Dam, saying Japan, with its great technological expertise, could have made these projects more environmentally friendly. “The people of the Middle East, including Iranians, have a positive view of Japan. However, they have a negative view of the other members of the Group of 8 industrialized countries,” he added. Japan is not a hegemonistic country and seeks peace, and it is a country that was greatly damaged by war in the twentieth century, he noted. Of the G8 countries, Japan has the greatest energy needs, and Middle Eastern people’s positive view of Japan is a great opportunity for the country, he stated. On Wednesday, the Japanese delegation visited former vice president Masumeh Ebtekar, Ahmadreza Aghaei, who is the head of the Department of Export of the Iran Petrochemical Commercial Company, Deputy Director of the Environment Development Organization Hassan Asilian, and Iranian Solar Energy Society President Abdolrazagh Kaabinejadian. The Japanese delegation visited the United Arab Emirates before traveling to Iran and is scheduled to fly to Turkey next