climate japan 17592

As the summer heat approaches, Japan has called for curbing impacts and emissions.

In 2019, part of the Shinkansen was submerged due to flooding caused by Typhoon Hagibis. Homes and highways were engulfed in landslides. Flooded tunnels trapped people and cars. The dam couldn’t withstand the surprisingly heavy rain.

Hijioka’s research focuses on flood management, such as diverting water from an upper swollen river into rice fields and ponds to drain water to avoid flooding.

To prevent deaths from heat stroke, the proposed law would designate certain buildings in the community, such as air-conditioned libraries, as shelters. That kind of national-level law is new in Japan.

Despite the country’s advanced economy, some people cannot afford air conditioning, especially in areas not used to the heat. Schools in northern Japan, such as Nagano, have been air-conditioned in recent years due to heat waves.

“In Japan, more people die from heat stroke than from river flooding,” said Hijioka. “We need to view climate change as a natural disaster.”

Michio Kawamiya, director of the Center for Environmental Modeling and Applied Research, and his team study Japan’s higher temperatures and their impact on people.

Research Results: Since 1953, cherry blossoms have bloomed on average one day earlier every 10 years. Maple leaves changed color 2.8 days slower per decade. While the threat of heavy snow remains, the risk of typhoons has increased and snowfall has decreased.

Japan has made some progress in curbing the amount of fossil fuels it spews out, but it remains the world’s sixth-highest emitter. After the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, the country shut down nuclear power and invested in new coal plants and imported oil and gas to keep the power grid running, destined for the climate. Since then, nuclear power plants have been gradually reopened.

On the positive side, it’s great public transit, keeping gas-guzzling cars off the road and lowering the country’s carbon footprint. Some Japanese turn off their air conditioners to save energy, but this has health implications. This is because it occurs just at the time when heat has reached dangerously high levels.

Kawamiya said in an interview from his office in Yokohama, southwest of Tokyo, that the country has already worked very hard to conserve energy by reducing demand, so doing more is often compared to “squeezing water out of a completely dry mop.” said.

Still, critics say Japan could do more to increase its use of renewable energy such as solar and wind. The government plans to make up more than one-third of the country’s electricity supply from renewables by 2030 and phase out coal sometime in the 2040s.

Japan is also part of the G7 major economies that have committed to using virtually no fossil fuels for electricity by 2035.

After Fukushima, Japan kept most of its country’s 50 or so reactors offline in response to public opinion against the technology. Nuclear power is considered clean energy because it does not emit greenhouse gases, but it does generate radioactive waste.

About 10 reactors are in operation and 24 are being decommissioned. It is unclear what decision Japan will ultimately take on nuclear power.

Hijioka, who believes that Japan is behind in the transition to renewable energy, said it had taken steps to tackle climate change but was frustrated by policymakers who said it was pushing a return to nuclear power.

Despite their potential to curb global warming emissions, some climate change experts are skeptical of switching to nuclear power because of the cost and duration of the project compared to how quickly and cheaply an equivalent amount of renewable energy can be put into operation. There are public concerns.

“It’s completely irresponsible to think about the next generation,” said Hijioka. But what about our children?”

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