حمایت از محیط زیست، امنیت انرژی و رشد اقتصادی در ژاپن
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|12138||2014||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||6897 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Energy Policy, Volume 37, Issue 10, October 2009, Pages 4038–4048
This study investigates the resource consumption of Japanese society since 1979 and its subsequent effects on the economic output of the nation and the environment. In order to quantify resource appropriation and trends in production and consumption, the concept of emergy synthesis is employed. Our results show a significant increase in the total amount of emergy consumed by 66.9% between 1979 and 2003 which comes hand in hand with an increase in the level of environmental stress by 93.7% (quantified as the environmental loading ratio). On the other hand the emergy required to produce 1 USD of economic output has been gradually decreasing which denotes an increase in the efficiency of the conversion of natural capital into economic output. What is most interesting though is the growing dependence of the Japanese economy on imported emergy, increasingly from developing nations, that severely affects the potential for unhindered economic growth. This can prove to be a big barrier that could affect the resource security of the Japanese economy and render it susceptible to risks associated with access to natural resources which in turn can jeopardise its long-term economic sustainability.
Japan is currently the second largest economy and home to one of the most affluent populations on the planet (IMF, 2008) achieving this economic prominence in just a few decades. Even though there has been a constant, albeit late, industrialisation of the country since the Meiji period, most of the population was rural until the mid of the 20th Century. The Japanese economy has traditionally been agricultural and what industry existed was heavily damaged during World War II. However, after the end of the war, the Japanese economy grew at unprecedented rates, averaging 9.3% in the 1960s, 5.2% in the 1970s and 4.1% in the 1980s (MIAC, 2008a). In this respect, Japan has been perhaps one of the most successful post war economies. Japan is also one of the biggest energy consumers in the world. As of 2007, Japan consumed 22087.9 PJ of energy which made it the fifth largest consumer of energy and the third largest consumer/producer of electricity in the world (OECD, 2008a). Even though energy consumption by industry, transport and agriculture/forestry has levelled off, or even decreased, the energy consumed by households and the service sector is increasing continuously (refer to Fig. 1). For electricity generation, thermal processes and nuclear power plants constitute the main sources of electricity in the country accounting for 63.7% and 25.5% of the electricity produced in 2005 (MIAC, 2008b), refer to Fig. 2. On the other hand, renewable sources such as hydro and wind power have remained more or less constant in the electricity fuel mix over the past decades despite the commitment of the country to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is interesting to note in Fig. 2 that hydropower constituted the single largest source of electricity until the mid sixties.However, despite its large energy consumption, the country lacks any significant fossil fuel reserves with inland fossil fuel production amounting to a modest 151.3 PJ in 2005 (OECD, 2008a). At the same time and due to poor planning, the country, unlike other energy poor countries like Italy and France has failed to secure active presence in foreign oil markets through a strong national oil company (Koike et al., 2008). Nevertheless, Japan has managed to become one of the major exporters of petroleum products, chemicals, steel and finished goods, such as cars, exhibiting the third highest account balance in the world as of 2007 (IMF, 2008). Production of these commodities is highly resource intensive which makes the Japanese economy vulnerable to resource supply interruptions. In fact the country experienced negative economic growth on the aftermath of the first oil crisis and an economic slowdown during the second crisis (MIAC, 2008a). This is very interesting considering that this negative economic growth happened amidst the 1970s and 1980s, two of the decades that constituted the so-called “Japanese miracle”, when the Japanese economy experienced constant economic growth. Nevertheless the academic community is uncertain whether there is a causal relationship between energy consumption and economic growth in Japan and whether the economic downturn experienced during the two oil crises was a direct effect of the crises themselves. For example, (Soytas and Sari, 2003) and (Erol and Yu, 1987) suggest that indeed greater energy consumption has resulted in a greater economic output for the Japanese economy. Lee (2006) on the other hand suggests reverse uni-directional causality from gross domestic product (GDP) to energy consumption. Japan is also increasingly becoming dependant on other countries for its food. Since 1960, self-sufficiency ratios for most food categories have significantly decreased, with the exception of rice, (MIAC, 2008c). At the same time, the country's mountainous terrain, large forested area (about two thirds of the country) and high land prices renders the expansion of farm land difficulty. As a result Japan has resorted to (a) intensifying its domestic production and (b) increasing imports of food and foodstuff from other countries. Gadda and Gasparatos, (2009) report strong indications of intensification in the livestock sector and estimate 7.8 cattle per hectare in 2005 (up from 2.4 cattle per hectare in 1970) and 350.5 pigs per hectare (up from 35.5 pigs per hectare in 1970). Furthermore, Food and Agriculture Organization estimates suggest a massive increase of imported food between 1961 and 2003. Japanese food production increased only slightly (by 4.9%) in that period, while imports increased by 521.4% and reached 59442.7 thousand tonnes which was actually more than the entire production of the country for that year (FAO, 2008). Both intensification of agriculture and imports of food make the Japanese society increasingly dependent on other countries both for food products (food and feed) as well as agricultural materials (e.g. natural resources for agrochemicals). All of the above evidence highlights a highly developed economy that is nevertheless depending on other countries to obtain the natural resources required to fuel its economy. It is no wonder that Japan's overarching energy policy concern as it was laid down in the 2006 national energy strategy is energy security (METI, 2006). Two indicators of this ever growing concern are the facts that Japan, as of January 2008, stockpiled oil equivalent to 151 days of net imports (International Energy Agency (IEA)'s import requirement is 90 days) and the signing of an oil stock agreement with the government of New Zealand (OECD, 2008b). Oddly enough and despite this prominence of energy security in Japanese energy policy, dependency on imported natural resources has been overlooked in the literature regarding the reasons behind economic growth. The standard economic literature that attempts to explain Japan's remarkable economic growth focuses on institutional and demographic reasons such as urbanisation, the supply of cheap labour, fear of globalisation, the structure of the Japanese corporate system, governmental policies, etc (Ishikawa, 1997). All these explanations are plausible and most likely have contributed to a degree to the economic prominence of the country, but seem to disregard one potentially significant factor; the access and consumption of natural capital. Japan, generally speaking is devoid of significant natural resources with minimal fossil fuel and metallic mineral deposits. Nevertheless a cornerstone of Japan's growth has been the export of material and energy intensive commodities as already discussed. The aforementioned explanations seem to assume natural resources as an external factor of economic activity and that its main contribution relates only to its cost within production. Considering all the above, the aim of this paper is to elucidate: (a) the trends behind resource production/consumption in the Japanese economy (particularly on the links between imported resources and economic output); (b) the impact on the environment; (c) whether environmental support has been a determinant of economic growth. These three topics will be linked with the imperatives of Japanese energy policy and will be used to provide policy suggestions that could ensure the energy security of the country and contribute to its long-term environmental and economic sustainability. In order to achieve this, the concept of emergy, or embodied solar energy, synthesis is employed. In a nutshell, emergy can account for the natural capital consumed within complex social–ecological systems and offer insights regarding the efficiency, environmental impact and sustainability of this consumption. It should be noted that the three imperatives of the Japanese energy policy, which are collectively called the three E's, are energy security, economic development and environmental sustainability (OECD, 2008b).
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The emergy synthesis of the Japanese economy highlights an economic system that has greatly increased its resource consumption and its economic output since 1979. The bulk of the consumed emergy has come from abroad and since 1989 from developing countries. This results in an inequitable trade regime with Japan actually receiving more emergy in a dollar-to-dollar basis as a result of its lower emergy-to-money ratio. This over reliance on foreign natural capital can compromise the resource security of the nation and affect its long-term economic sustainability. On the other hand Japanese economic development poses an increasing stress on the environment, and particularly overseas considering that Japan is receiving most of the natural capital that fuels its economy from abroad. In particular, Japan relies greatly on imported coal for electricity consumption, and because of the energy security concerns this over reliance will not change in the foreseeable future. This will be one of the main barriers that will prevent Japan meeting its Kyoto Protocol commitments. As a result, even though there is a genuine concern and work is being done to meet its main energy policy objectives (energy security, economic development and environmental sustainability) their contradictory nature will prohibit their simultaneous fulfillment, at least in the near future. Energy (and resource) security has emerged as the over arching energy policy objective and is inexorably linked with concerns over economic development. As a result, it seems that these two considerations will override environmental sustainability in the short term. A more pro-active approach of the Japanese Government towards environmental policy by designing demand reduction strategies and coupling them with the plethora of existing energy-efficiency strategies might go some way towards reducing energy consumption and GHG emissions in the short term.