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Kuramochi T.,Institute for Global Environmental Strategies IGES
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews | Year: 2014

In 2009, Japan pledged to reduce its GHG emissions by 25% from 1990 levels by 2020 ("Copenhagen Pledge"). The achievement of the target depended largely on a large expansion of nuclear power. However, this ambitious plan became unfeasible after the Fukushima nuclear disaster of March 2011. This paper conducted a comprehensive review of Japan's recent energy and climate policy developments since 2009 and particularly after March 2011 to assess where Japan stands today with regard to the achievement of the long-term global 2 °C goal. Japan achieved its mitigation target for the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, but it was unsuccessful in reducing domestic GHG emissions in the residential and commercial sectors, and consequently relied more heavily on purchased Kyoto units. With regard to the revised 2020 mitigation target ("Warsaw Target"), when expected emissions reductions through nuclear power is factored out, domestic mitigation under the Warsaw Target was found to be only marginally more ambitious than the target that preceded the Copenhagen Pledge (9% reduction from 1990 levels). Japan cannot make secondary acquisitions of Kyoto units up to 2020 and thus, a bilateral offset scheme (JCM) could become an important credit source. However, its development regarding the additionality of the emissions reductions needs to be tracked carefully. Moreover, the legal underpinning of national mitigation targets and actions was currently found to be very weak in Japan. The review of currently implemented policy measures revealed that among the three key measures considered for achieving the Copenhagen Pledge, only the renewable Feed-In-Tariff scheme was found to be relatively successful to date, but even this is currently under critical scrutiny. Recent new coal-fired power plant construction plans could jeopardize the achievement of both mid-term and long-term mitigation goals. The impact of nuclear power plant restarts on future CO2 emissions was found to be limited around 2030. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Bhattacharya A.,Institute for Global Environmental Strategies IGES | Kojima S.,Institute for Global Environmental Strategies
Energy Policy | Year: 2012

The conventional pricing mechanism used for electricity systematically hides huge investment risks which are embedded in the overall cost of production. Although consumers are often unaware of these risks, they present a large financial burden on the economy. This study applies the portfolio optimization concepts from the field of finance to demonstrate the scope of greater utilization of renewable energies (RE) while reducing the embedded investment risk in the conventional electricity sector and its related financial burden. This study demonstrates that RE investment can compensate for the risks associated with the total input costs; such costs being external volatilities of fossil fuel prices, capital costs, operating and maintenance costs and the carbon costs. By means of example, this case study shows that Japan could in theory obtain up to 9% of its electricity supply from green sources, as compared to the present 1.37%, based on the utilization of a portfolio risk-analysis evaluation. Explicit comparison of the monetary values of the investment risks of conventional and renewable energy sources shows that renewable energies have high market competitiveness. The study concludes with a recommendation that, as a business objective, investors would benefit by focusing on electricity supply portfolio risk minimization instead of cost. This could also inherently increase the supply of renewable energy in the market. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Akenji L.,Institute for Global Environmental Strategies IGES
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2014

An axiom that has shaped policy approaches to sustainable consumption has been that if more consumers understand the environmental consequences of their consumption patterns, through their market choices they would inevitably put pressure on retailers and manufacturers to move towards sustainable production. The result is the proliferation of consumption of "green" products, eco-labels, consumer awareness campaigns, etc. This paper, however, argues that the dominant focus on green consumerism as against the need for structural changes towards a broader systemic shift is unrealistic. Furthermore, promoting green consumerism at once lays responsibility on consumers to undertake the function of maintaining economic growth while simultaneously, even if contradictorily, bearing the burden to drive the system towards sustainability. Given the scope of the sustainability challenge and the urgency with which it must be addressed, this paper argues that the consumer is not the most salient agent in the production-consumption system; expecting the consumer through green consumerism to shift society towards SCP patterns is consumer scapegoatism. This paper draws on the discursive confusion over discourse and practice of sustainable consumption. It attempts to clarify the differences between green consumerism and sustainable consumption, looking at each concept's historical development, its perspective on the consumer, and the main approaches to achieving sustainability. It then introduces the Attitudes-Facilitators- Infrastructure (AFI) framework - a framework for sustainable consumption policy design that goes beyond green consumerism, and that enables wellbeing and ecological sustainability without propagating the economic-growth dogma that has a stranglehold on contemporary policy-making. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Kataoka Y.,Institute for Global Environmental Strategies IGES
Environmental Policy and Governance | Year: 2011

Japanese water quality management is evolving toward the more integrated management of water resources by adapting to the changes in society, such as changes in public perceptions on water and the environment; diversification of water usage; and the state of water quality itself. Mitigation of water pollution and conservation of the watershed environment and ecosystem services have begun to be recognized as important elements of water quality management. In that sense, water quality management in Japan is now transforming from management of water quality to management of the wider water environment. Although there have been signs of integration of the quantity and quality aspects of water management, this paper concludes that opportunities to promote integrated management should be further explored in Japan and that local governments must play a key role in the promotion of integrated water resources management. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

Liu X.,Institute for Global Environmental Strategies IGES | Wang C.,Tsinghua University | Shishime T.,Institute for Global Environmental Strategies IGES | Fujitsuka T.,Institute for Global Environmental Strategies IGES
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2010

This paper develops an analytical framework based on the reasoned action theory and discusses the environmental activism (EA) of residents living close to the polluting companies. The data was collected by a questionnaire survey conducted in August of 2009 in Suzhou city of Jiangsu Province, China, which successfully obtained a total of 343 valid responses. The survey suggests that the residents are reluctant to act against their neighboring polluters. Nearly 10% respondents have never taken any action against the polluters, and the occasional EA participators account for 66.2% of the total. The items of EA, which require the residents to directly communicate with the governments or polluters, achieve very low ratios of participations (with a range of 5-25%). The path analysis confirms that there are large influences of certain attitudinal components on EA involvement. Understanding of corporate environmental information significantly determines the resident's intention of EA practices. The residents have an obvious tendency to act collectively against the polluters. An essential message of this study is that the strategy of corporate environmental information disclosure may effectively increase the resident's readiness of EA participation. The government shall responsively support the residents' EA efforts since successful environmental protests will greatly convince them to jointly act against their neighboring polluters. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

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