City in southwestern Japan declares climate emergency, country’s 1st


A city in southwestern Japan on Thursday became the first municipality in the country to declare a “climate emergency”, joining more than 1,000 local governments around the world determined to tackle climate change.

Iki City, Nagasaki Prefecture, said in the statement that natural disasters and other phenomena caused by global warming pose a “significant threat” and pledged to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions. The global movement was initiated in 2016 by the Australian city of Darebin in Melbourne.

An island city of 26,500 residents, Iki said the decision was prompted by unprecedented weather events in the municipality and elsewhere. Iki was hit by torrential rains, which caused extensive damage and water shortages.

Specifically, the municipal government has encouraged local residents to reuse resources and reduce waste, and has committed to fully migrate the energy sources used in the municipality to renewable energy by 2050.

Last year, Iki was recognized by the central government for his efforts to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which include actions against climate change. The city has also encouraged the practical use of hydrogen energy.

“We want our residents to realize that this is a crisis,” said an Iki official. The city said it would urge other local governments in Japan to make similar statements.

(A causeway that only appears during low tide leading to Kojima Shrine, a Shinto site on an islet off Iki Island in Nagasaki Prefecture, is seen on September 14, 2014.)

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