We all know that the Japanese love their sushi. Japan is also famous for sake, a rice wine unique to the country. Lately, the Japanese have shown unrestrained love for a commodity that is increasingly demonized by climate groups: coal.
Global warming alarmists blame coal for causing dangerous global warming. But the Japanese beg to differ. They have revived their love affair with coal. Why? That’s an interesting story.
Soon after the Fukushima nuclear incident, public sentiment towards nuclear energy became hostile. Many organizations, including foreign non-profits, called for the closure of nuclear plants on fears of future mishaps.
The Fukushima plant was outdated and less safe than Japan’s other, modern nuclear plants. Yet, the impact of the Fukushima disaster (in which no one died from radiation exposure) remains fresh in people’s minds, and the nation was not ready to defend the operations of other nuclear plants.
The Japanese government caved in to the pressure and closed many nuclear plants. By 27 March 2012, Japan had only one out of 54 nuclear reactors operating. As a result, the country was forced to seek alternative sources of energy generation.
The Japanese understood that renewable sources like wind and solar could not provide stable and affordable electricity, at least not in the magnitude necessary to meet peak energy demands of Japan’s power-guzzling cities.
The most economical and safe solution was coal. Contrary to popular belief and the mainstream media, coal is not as polluting as you might think.
Moreover, coal is a tried and tested source of energy, guaranteeing superior-quality, stable output to meet the energy demands of modern cities and industries.
With the development of “clean coal technology,” coal combustion now results in fewer contaminants and more energy, making it far superior to the combustion plants of previous decades.
So, Japan went against the tide and embraced coal with both arms.
It now employs the most advanced and safest coal combustion technology available on the planet, becoming a leading manufacturer and exporter of clean coal technology.
But Japan’s use of coal is not justified exclusively on the basis of the country’s nuclear debacle. The heart of the reason is Japan’s climate.
For the past three decades, there has been no significant warming in its major cities.
Data from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) clearly indicates that there has been no significant deviation in the monthly average temperature between 1998 and 2018. The period between is of special importance to the Japanese government.
As per the climate doomsday theorists, temperatures should have displayed a strong warming trend as the manmade carbon dioxide emissions increased exponentially.
But the temperature levels failed to display any warming trend. That flies in the face of the notion that atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration levels control temperature over the island nation—or, for that matter, the world.
Last week, Sapporo recorded its coldest day in 40 years. In fact, winter in Japan had no warming trend from 1986 to 2018, with the January monthly mean temperature anomalies displaying a cooling trend. If anything, there has been a cooling trend in Japan between 1998 and 2018.
So, the reason for Japanese embrace of coal is pretty clear: no significant warming, coupled with the post-Fukushima anti-nuclear hysteria.
No country would want to reduce its emissions when its monthly average temperatures are actually decreasing. It is for this reason that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe refuses to stay true to the hasty anti-coal commitments he made at the UN’s international climate summits.
Instead of discouraging the use of coal, Japan is increasing its dependency on coal. Abe has sanctioned the addition of 35 new coal power plants to the 100 currently operational. The country is also encouraging its Asian neighbors and other developing countries to purchase its clean coal technology.
The Japanese response to the anti-coal establishment, besides being bold, accurately reflects climate reality. Japan understands the need to prioritize the domestic energy needs over faulty, pseudo-scientific forecasts of climate doom.
The lack of warming, however, is not limited to Japan. Satellite temperature measurements (between 1979 and January 2019) show no significant warming in the earth’s atmosphere during the past 19 years.
Other countries should emulate Japan’s example, especially in the developing world. Domestic energy needs are far too important to be slain on the altar of global warming hysteria.
Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England), Contributor for Developing Countries, for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, lives in Chennai, India.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.