Asia Minute: Summer heat brings energy worries in Tokyo
Summer’s been here for a little more than a week — in Hawaiʻi and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere. Already, high temperatures have come to several parts of the region. That’s the case in many parts of Japan — including Tokyo — where a hot summer is threatening to complicate the city’s energy picture.
Over the weekend, temperatures spiked to more than 104 degrees in a city about 50 miles outside Tokyo.
That’s more than 40 degrees Celsius — the first time on record that’s happened in June in Japan.
By Monday, government officials were asking people in the Japanese capital to conserve energy — especially in the late afternoon when demand peaks.
Tokyo summers have grown increasingly sweltering over recent years — but temperatures have been rising for decades.
According to the NASA Earth Observatory, human-caused global warming has sent temperatures higher by nearly 3 degrees Fahrenheit in Tokyo since 1964 — and by more than 5 degrees since 1900.
NASA says that’s nearly three times the global average.
Japan’s energy crunch is complicated by global events — including an embargo on fossil fuel imports from Russia, as well as a decline in domestic coal production.
As for renewable energy, Japan’s latest figures show about 23% of its electricity comes from renewables.
That’s roughly on par with the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration — but significantly lower than the use of renewables to produce electricity in Hawaiʻi.