Great Japanese Failure & Great Japanese Success

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Here are two articles reposted as one from Lenz Blog. Links to the originals are included on the subtitles below.

Japan flag via Shutterstock
Japan flag via Shutterstock

Great Japanese Failure

The Japanese government has decided to replace the previous 2020 target of 25 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 with a target of a 3.1 percent increase.

This is the official document (in Japanese). Thanks to commentary at Kikonet here for the link.

Adding insult to injury, the Japanese government tries to mask this by selling it as “3.8 percent reduction compared to 2005″.

Do they think people are so stupid as not to look through this childish attempt at deception?

The official document says this is a very ambitious goal (野心的).

It is. I must admit that. It sure is.

That is, if your ambition is to show that Japan is the world’s worst country when dealing with climate change.

The official document also says that this revision is not counting any nuclear energy available in 2020. This makes sense at first glance. With all those nuclear reactors quietly gathering dust and fossil fuel getting burned instead, one would expect that it becomes more difficult to reach the previous 25 percent goal.

However, as this analysis by Climate Action Tracker points out, even a total nuclear shutdown by 2020 would only account for about 8 percent of the reduction to the new “ambitious” (haha) goal of plus 3.1 percent (a total movement in the wrong direction of 28.1 percent). Thanks to this Tweet by Kees van der Leun for the link.

Fortunately the document also says that the government is ready to reconsider. This part is important, so I cite it in full and provide a translation:


This target is set at the present time assuming no contribution to greenhouse gas emission reductions from nuclear energy, while Japan is in the process of debating energy policy (including nuclear energy) and the energy mix.


We will fix a definite target later on, considering the progress of the discussion of energy policy and the energy mix.

This is not the last word. And it better not be.

I recall that Typhoon Hayan just hit the Philippines, causing catastrophic disaster. Japan could be next.

This lame response of the Japanese government is not what we need right now. The Climate Action Tracker report cited above gives Japan a failing degree of “inadequate”, and I agree completely with that assessment.

Great Japanese Success

The Climate Action Tracker report on Japan’s latest policy discussed in the last post titled “Great Japanese Failure” gives some background on climate finance contributions on page 4.

For one, Japan has pledged funding of $16 billion (a whopping $2.28 per world capita) in financing up to 2015. That comes on top of $16.9 billion in the “fast start finance” period from 2010 to 2012, which leaves Japan way at the top of the list, with a contribution rate of 42.6 percent, followed by the EU at 24.7 percent.

Japan, one country, has contributed about double of the whole EU to the financial effort.

That’s a Great Success, and Japan can be proud of being the World’s top country, by far, in the category of financial contributions.

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Dr. Karl-Friedrich Lenz

is a professor of German and European Law at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, blogging since 2003 at Lenz Blog. A free PDF file of his global warming science fiction novel "Great News" is available here.

Dr. Karl-Friedrich Lenz has 67 posts and counting. See all posts by Dr. Karl-Friedrich Lenz

8 thoughts on “Great Japanese Failure & Great Japanese Success

  • This looks like spin to convince Japanese public opinion to allow restarts of the shut-down nuclear park.

  • Losing fifty some reactors is a big deal. Also they are learning that trying to ramp PV much faster than the country can develop installation expertise leads to a lot of waste and failed projects. In PV rampup, slow and steady wins the race, and crash programs fail.

    • Japan has experienced a severe crash and fail event with nuclear. Actually an ongoing crash and fail that will suck money for decades to come.

      They need to move rapidly with renewables and that probably means enduring a few more rough patches than if they moved slowly.

      • No doubt. But, I think there is a lesson here (besides whatever it is you want to say about nuclear). Iit is a good thing to keep a reasonable sized program in whatever technology you may need to scale up in the future. This would function as a hedge against the potential future need for an overfast scaleup.

        I suspect trying to scale something like solar beyond say doubling year on year deployment is too fast.

        • What would be the downsides of scaling solar too rapidly?

          Installation is far from rocket science. Just use some of the millions of people who already have decent construction skills and the panels will be faced the correct direction and securely fastened. The wires will be hooked up correctly.

          The only problem I can see, and a sometimes problem with rapid scaling, is that the facility is in place before transmission is ready.

          • What I’ve read is that lots of projects that have been approved, the winner bidders weren’t qualified to do the work. And installation prices are high. This can lead to bad PR and political backlash.

            It is widely understood in business, that you can only grow a business so fast. Try to grow faster, and the new inexperienced people overwhelm your corporate “memory”. In the case of PV, too many installers haven’t had the benefit of previously working with someone experienced in the area )or having one on the team). This also applies to the paper work and integration teams.

          • That’s a bidding process failure. Potential bidders should have been pre-screened or required to document their ability to deliver as part of the bidding process.

          • Of course, government crash programs don’t have that problem.

Comments are closed.