Vol.2 July 2014
Task Manager (Green Investment and Green Jobs); Trade and Development Economist,
Institute for Global
Environmental Strategies (IGES)
Dr. Moinuddin previously held research positions at the ADB Institute and the WIPO Japan Office. His research interests include energy trade and market integration, sustainable economic development and transition to green economy, regional cooperation and integration, and international trade. He is currently working on energy trade in Asia, determinants of international capital flows, water-energy-food nexus, and Japan’s long-term energy scenarios.
Task Manager (Energy Model Analysis); Policy Researcher,
Institute for Global
Environmental Strategies (IGES)
Dr. Kuramochi joined IGES in 2011 and currently conducts a wide range of research activities on both domestic and international energy/climate policies, ranging from a techno-economic assessment of mid-long term CO2 mitigation options to an in-depth analysis of Japanese climate finance to developing countries.
What is the “2050 Low Carbon Navigator”?
Japan is committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 80% below the 1990s levels by 2050. This has been further complicated by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident which has raised concerns about ensuring the country’s energy security and safety in the coming decades. As a result, Japan is now at a crossroads. The choices Japan faces now include, among others, whether to focus more on cutting its energy demand or relying more on decarbonisation of energy supply, how to generate electricity, and what types of technologies to use. In the run-up to the launch of the web version of the 2050 Low carbon Navigator at ISAP2014, we interviewed Mustafa Moinuddin, and Takeshi Kuramochi who are team members working on the “2050 Low Carbon Navigator”.
---Can you tell us what “the 2050 low carbon navigator” is all about?
Low Carbon Navigator Web tool
In 2010, the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) developed an innovative simulation tool—the UK 2050 Pathways Calculator (2050 Calculator)—which lets the users create their own emission reduction pathways and see the impact using scientifically robust data. This Excel-based decision-support tool received very positive responses from the audience. The 2050 Calculator is now being used by policymakers as well as experts and the general public for dialogues and education purposes. Governments and research institutions in several other countries including China, Wallonia/Belgium, and India, followed suit and developed the Calculator for their respective countries. In Japan, IGES and the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) developed the Japanese version of the Calculator, known as Japan 2050 Low Carbon Navigator (2050 Navigator). We received ample technical and coordinating support from the UK DECC and the British Embassy Tokyo.
---What would you say is revolutionary about the 2050 low-carbon navigator?
As a pathways simulation tool, The 2050 Low Carbon Navigator helps policymakers as well as the energy producers and consumers (including the public) to understand the energy and emission-related choices that Japan faces. It provides a platform for engaging in dialogues on the challenges and opportunities of the future energy system and the responses to climate change. It allows users to develop their own pathways combinations to reduce emissions and ensure energy security. This transparent and handy tool can help answer the fundamental questions of how the energy system can evolve over the coming decades and its impact on emissions, energy security, electricity systems, energy development and related costs. The 2050 Low Carbon Navigator’s uniqueness lies in the fact that unlike other energy models which are basically designed to be operated by experienced professionals, this model can be used by virtually anybody interested, while maintaining scientific robustness and data transparency.
---What were the difficulties you faced when developing the Japanese version?
Now, as The 2050 Low Carbon Navigator is a long-term simulation tool, it is reasonable to assume that there will be a lot of uncertainties. While developing the tool, we had to keep in mind that we need to present the potential pathways amidst these uncertainties. The 2050 Low Carbon Navigator covers all the supply and demand sectors of the Japanese economy. The challenge was to keep the assumptions under different scenarios clear, simple and easy-to-understand, and yet technically correct and scientifically justified. It was a daunting task by itself, and we had to present and convince the stakeholders through several review meetings to ensure the authenticity of the assumptions, data and calculation procedures. But we are happy that we received a lot of support and encouragement from the people around us.
---Can you tell us some of the ways in which it will be used?
Realising a low-carbon economy requires not only clear directions and actions but also participation of Japanese citizens. An integrated approach is needed to build confidence to act, make long-term planning, be innovative, and gradually change behaviour. For this, people need to understand the implications of the decisions that are made now. The 2050 Low Carbon Navigator provides a platform to facilitate such multi-stakeholder discussions and better understanding of the fundamentals of different energy mixes and mitigation options for Japan, to give wider public access and receive feedback simultaneously. The 2050 Low Carbon Navigator can be a handy education and communication tool that will not only help the general audience to better understand the situation, but also assist policymakers in the negotiating and decision-making processes.
--- Thank you very much.