Saturday, April 21, 2012
Japan: Energy Crisis? What's New?
So many people with great ideas for the future, making a point of being positive almost to the limit of what is possible... Best of all, none of it is fake, in a city that just a year ago was turning down its neon lights while the aftershocks still rattled the northeast of the nation. From eco tourism to organic food (and cotton) and solutions to all kinds of problems you have probably never heard of, the Earth Day Market in Tokyo has grown into a massive event. If I may be just a little grumpy, it is due to the lack of space on the walk in front of NHK and the Olympic Stadium. It was pretty noisy too, for my liking, but no one else seemed to mind.
Tokyo Earth Day Market
The amazing thing about Tokyo and Japan is that we are all doing all right. With the last nuclear reactor scheduled to be closed down on Children's Day (May 5) Japan could be expected to be turning inwards in some kind of gloom-and-doom fog.
Not so fast. By reducing energy consumption radically, we have mostly managed to deal with the lack of 50 or so nuclear reactors, that have been shut down since March 11, 2011.
Over at Shisaku, I found a reference to someone who has actually looked at the numbers, and in fact, Japan's oil imports hit a 22 year low in late 2011 -- the lowest level since 1989. Todd Kreider at Kanazawa University notes on the NBR Forums that Japan's coal imports have decreased by some 10%.
Even though some 50+ nuclear reactors have been up and running since the 1980s, Japan continued to increase its import of coal. I don't remember hearing about that from the main stream media...
Index Mundi: Japan Coal Imports by Year
As for oil, back in 1995, Japan imported 5.7 million barrels of oil per day, with a peak of 5.8 million barrels a day in 1998. That was down to 4.3 million barrels of oil per day in 2011, so a small increase recently is not going to be very significant compared to the major decrease in oil imports over the past 15-20 years.
What's new? Japan is again leading the way to a more sustainable society, where people are responsible and take an interest in their own consumption patterns, and how it influences our planet.
OECD/IEA: Oil Market Report (March 14, 2012) Countries Import of Crude Oil
Again, if you look at the data, Japan's total consumption of gas, diesel and oil has decreased since 2002, when it was 23% of the total, to 19% of the total in 2012. Jet fuel and kerosene have also decreased significantly.
Source: IEA Oil Market Report
That does not mean we are off the hook. We still use far more than we can afford to. But nuclear power plants going off line are not part of the problem.
What's new? We are producing less waste (no more spent fuel rods stored inside nuclear reactor buildings, that no one has any solution for), and we are enjoying a pretty high standard of living, but we could do better. Stay tuned.
More setsuden posts here at Kurashi:
(Hat tip to Shisaku: Energy And The Future Of The DPJ)
Blogs I Like
- Ad B: Japan Navigator
- Adventures of a (Swedish) Salariman in Tokyo
- Amy: Blue Lotus
- Boing Boing: Wonderful Things
- Brendan: UNU OurWorld 2.0
- Hiroko & Rick: Itadakimasu
- Jared B: Tokyo Green Space
- Joan: Popcorn Homestead
- Jon: Toshogu or As I See Japan... From L.A.
- Justin B: The Rational Pessimist (Climate & Risk)
- Kat: Food Adventures in Japan
- Ken: KenElwood in semi-rural Japan
- Mari: Watashi to Tokyo
- MTC: Shisaku
- Otakimura: In The Pines
- P: Pacific Islander
- Peko Peko: Kyoto Foodie
- Richard H: Spike Japan
- Risa & Kirk: Savory Japan
- Robert: Pure Land Mountain
- Shizuoka Gourmet
- Ten Thousand Things
- Tom: Kitchen Garden in Japan
Links I Like
- News: About Sweden in English
- News: BBC
- News: Der Spiegel (Germany) in English
- News: Deutche Welle
- News: FT Asia (UK, EU)
- News: Kyoto Journal (Japan)
- News: NHK World Society & Others (Japan)
- News: People's Daily (China)
- News: Telegraph (UK)
- News: The Local (Sweden)
- News: Yomiuri Online (Japan)
- News: Yonhap (Korea)
- NGOs/News: Organic Consumers Association (US)
- NGOs: Amnesty
- NGOs: Consumers Union (US) Food
- NGOs: Consumers Union of Japan
- NGOs: Greenpeace
- NGOs: Greenz.jp
- NGOs: Japan for Sustainability
- NGOs: Japan Organic Agriculture Association
- NGOs: Japan Vegetarian Society
- Shops: Alishan Organic Center
- Shops: Eco to Waza (GreenJapan)
- Shops: Warabe Mura
- Stuff: Japan Probe