Japan’s Low Carbon Navigator

As Tom trailed last week, Japan has launched their '2050 Low Carbon Navigator'. You can access it in Japanese and, fortunately for me, in English and read all about why and how they built it.

The work is a much welcomed addition to the growing 2050 Calculator family. Please try it out yourself.

The main messages which I draw from it are:

• The ‘Navigator’ shows that Japan can achieve 80% emissions reduction in 2050.
• It needs strong ambition both on the demand and supply sides, but could be done with or without nuclear power.
• But as the industrial sector is so significant, without industrial CCS, it is not possible to achieve the 80% emission reductions in 2050 from a 1990 baseline.

The energy mix debate is very much alive at the moment in Japan. We hope that the Navigator can assist the development of a credible long term pathway, just like it does in the UK.

But as the DECC 2050 team is gearing up for a - hopefully - 'firework of 2050 Calculators' over the coming months, what is the point of all these governments developing calculators?

Admittedly I'm biased, but two basic wins from the 2050 Calculator concept made me proud to be part of our outreach programme.

First, to have a fighting chance in our global climate change challenge we have to trust each other and verify our plans and actions. This can only be done with better transparency. For too long energy modelling has been the prerogative of a slightly nerdy elite. To build trust and understanding of the very challenging choices in energy policy this sector is ripe to be opened up.

The Calculator is uncompromisingly transparent and generates a democratic platform for an energy literate debate. I was assured that something that transparent and easy to use, has not previously existed in Japan.

Secondly, energy choices must be directly linked to emissions and their impact on the planet. The recently launched draft Global Calculator makes this abundantly clear. Tools like this allow the links to be seen at the click of a button.

Not every Calculator team we help will achieve these lofty goals. Some may fail altogether. But the Japan work has shown for me once more it is well worth a shot.