Science Inventory

Interactions among energy consumption, economic development and greenhouse gas emissions in Japan after World War II

Citation:

Lu, H., B. Lin, Daniel E. Campbell, M. Sagisaka, AND H. Ren. Interactions among energy consumption, economic development and greenhouse gas emissions in Japan after World War II. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. Elsevier B.V., Amsterdam, Netherlands, 54:1060-1072, (2016).

Impact/Purpose:

This study examined the long-term dynamic changes in energy consumption, economic development, and Green- house gas (GHG) emissions in Japan after World War II. The interactions among these factors were quantified and analyzed based on an integrated suite of energy, emergy and economic indices. The study found that economic progress can be made not only by utilizing new energy sources of higher quality, but also by improving the efficiency of energy generation methods. Two different energy strategy periods in Japan, resulting in a near linear increase in national economic development over the 66 years following WWII were identified and quantitatively explored. Before1973, the use of high quality energy (crude oil) was progressively intensified, while after that time a period with more use of nuclear energy and LNG resulted in decreased GHG emissions. Interestingly, after removing the noise of fluctuations related to economic deflation and inflation and accounting for the different qualities of the primary energies consumed, progressively increasing trends in both national economic growth and energy efficiency were found in the Japanese economy over the past 20 years, a period widely known as the ‘lost decades’. The joint use of emergy, economic and energy analyses yielded insights into the growth and well-being of Japan from just after WW II to 2011. Japan faced some common problems confronting the U.S. and the rest of the world, but in a system where these external factors were experienced more intensely. The significance of this paper may lie in its progress toward improving our understanding of how to derive maximum benefits for society by obtaining better control of the competing forces at work on optimizing benefits and minimizing the costs associated with primary energy consumption, economic development and total emergy use in a national system.

Description:

The long-term dynamic changes in the triad, energy consumption, economic development, and Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, in Japan after World War II were quantified, and the interactions among them were analyzed based on an integrated suite of energy, emergy and economic indices. The results quantitatively showed that two different energy strategy periods, one before 1973 using new sources of higher quality energy and one after 1973 focused on improving the efficiency of energy generation methods, could explain the linear increase in national economic development in Japan over the 66 years from 1946 to 2011. Japan benefited both ecologically and economically from importing fossil fuels, which accounted for 8.7% of the nominal GDP of Japan averaged over the entire study period. The total environmental impacts of GHG (i.e., CO2, CH4 and N2O) emissions measured by emergy decreased after 1997, and since 2009 they have remained lower than 76% of the emissions in 1990, even though no decrease in the global warming impact based on the weight of CO2 was observed. Emergy methods and Energy Systems models revealed aspects of the complicated interactions among energy consumption, economic development, and the potential environmental impact of GHG emissions which formerly had not been recognized.

URLs/Downloads:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032115011417   Exit

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Product Published Date: 11/11/2015
Record Last Revised: 12/15/2015
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 310576

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY

ATLANTIC ECOLOGY DIVISION