TOKYO, October 22 – Tokyo’s outspoken governor on Wednesday berated national leaders for their "foolish" failure to halt global warming as the world’s biggest cities met to plan action on the climate.
Mayors or senior officials from 36 of the world’s largest cities were gathering for two days of talks in Tokyo on how to fight global warming in the latest meeting of the so-called C40 climate initiative.
Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, in an opening address, lashed out at Russia and the United States for disputing rights to the North Pole, noting that the polar ice cap was melting at a record pace.
"Such is the ego of human beings. It’s such a foolish tale," Ishihara said.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last month called for drafting a border in the oil-rich Arctic to be completed, sparking protests as Canada said it would boost military alertness.
Russia later said it had no plans for a "unilateral partition" of the Arctic.
Ishihara said he was "very disappointed" with international talks on climate change including July’s summit in Japan of leaders of the Group of Eight rich nations, who called for at least halving global carbon emissions by 2050.
"It’s easy to share a sense of crisis, but if you can’t come up with specific measures to deal with this, then the crisis will only get worse," Ishihara said.
Ishihara, a celebrated novelist, is controversial for his bluntly nationalistic remarks including frequent denunciations of China.
But he has also become one of Japan’s most popular politicians by taking strong-armed action on the environment, including slapping a complete ban on polluting diesel vehicles inside Tokyo.
The C40 was initiated in 2005 by London’s then socialist mayor Ken Livingstone, an ardent environmentalist.
The latest C40 meeting involves Bangkok, Beijing, Cairo, Chicago, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, New York, Paris, Rome, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney and Toronto, among other cities.