Soft energy paths in Japan: a backcasting approach to energy planning

Suwa, Aki
March 2009
Climate Policy (Earthscan);2009, Vol. 9 Issue 2, p185
Academic Journal
Japan has recognized the need to make significant reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including CO2, but Japanese energy policy is fragmented and ineffective in coping with the challenge. Highly controversial options have been included in its strategy. Against this background, the current Japanese energy policy is reviewed and alternative future options are proposed, with their implications examined in the real policy context. A backcasting methodology, which creates a normative vision and identifies policy paths to attain the vision, is identified as a highly relevant conceptual framework for the analysis. Four visions are presented, within which subsequent policy packages and detailed policy paths are created. Two-tier evaluation stages are set to validate the policy packages and paths, through discussion with key Japanese energy experts. The study provides an insight into the effectiveness of the methodology, and implications of the proposed visions and policy packages. A series of innovations are made, including the 'policy road map' as an effective tool that links the backcasting framework and strategic policy discussions.


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