Japan: Ignoring the Real Threats

The New York Times — the same paper that largely ignored the Climategate scandal — ran an exhaustive investigation into the Fukushima nuclear plant last weekend and why the Japanese utility and government were unprepared for a large tsunami in a major earthquake zone.

Climategate and Nukegate — and their relative press coverage — are not unrelated.

Clearly, earthquakes pose a far greater threat to Japan than global warming as the ongoing tsunami death toll — likely to surpass 20,000 — and nuclear accident attest. Yet Japanese authorities and the media have been obsessed for the last two decades with global warming and meeting Kyoto targets — diverting billions of dollars from the real threats facing island nations like Japan.

“In the country that gave the world the word tsunami, the Japanese nuclear establishment largely disregarded the potentially destructive force of the walls of water,” reports the Times. “The word did not even appear in government guidelines until 2006, decades after plants — including the Fukushima Daiichi facility that firefighters are still struggling to get under control — began dotting the Japanese coastline.”

Meanwhile, the Japanese government spent $13 billion in 2010 alone on global warming mitigation while it sent delegations all over the world to confront its phantom threat. Risk must be prioritized, and clearly Japan — and the New York Times — are ignoring the real threats.

When has global warming claimed 20,000 lives?