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Issues and a Proposal for Future Measures
Rural areas are facing not only significant changes in their social foundation, namely, depopulation as well as an aging population with a decreasing number of children, but also socioeconomic changes such as declining agricultural and forestry sectors. Focusing on such rural areas, this paper summarizes issues and proposals for possible measures which involve actions taken toward the realization of a low-carbon society, a medium- to long-term countermeasure to global warming.
Rural area issues include difficulties in knowing current levels of greenhouse gas emissions because of insufficiently organized basic data on regional consumption of fossil fuel and planning effective measures for reducing emissions, and a lack of qualified persons to engage in such measures. There are measures, however, that are expected to considerably reduce carbon dioxide amounts: traditional efforts to take advantage of the ability of forests to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the use of abundant biomass which substitutes for fossil fuel, and the utilization of unused or idle land. As these measures do not seem to be sufficiently implemented at present, implementing effective measures with an eye to the future would promote carbon reduction in rural areas.
To reduce carbon dioxide in rural areas maximally, cooperation with neighboring local governments and urban areas is essential. For example, the use of biomass based on regionwide cooperation among farmers and livestock breeders or the introduction of a system supplying renewable energy in cooperation with urban areas would become necessary factors.