RCEM: Views on Energy News

Climate change is the most significant global environmental issue, so policy discussions with mid- to long-term perspectives are ongoing worldwide (e.g., UNFCCC). At the same time, energy is a critical global issue in the current society. Recently, energy demand has dramatically increased in large emerging countries (e.g., China and India), driven by economic and population growth. This tendency will continue, thus raising concerns about energy supplies in the future. Also, because production and reserves of fossil fuels are located in a limited number of countries, other countries, including those in East Asia, that are poor in energy resources and dependent on imported fossil fuels will face potential price-fluctuations and geopolitical risks.

Climate change mitigation is aimed at reducing GHG emissions, in particular CO2. Promotion of energy efficiency and shifts to low-carbon energy are critical for reducing emissions. If energy savings and low-carbon energy use are both adopted, the volume of and the dependence on imported energy will decline - helping to improve energy security.

We conducted a study to investigate how energy security in three East Asian countries (Japan, China, and South Korea), depending heavily on imports for most of their energy, will change in the future under climate mitigation policy scenarios, using a computable general equilibrium model. Our research findings suggest that to reduce GHG emissions, the three East Asian countries need to shift their energy structures from currently dominant fossil fuels to renewables and nuclear power. The lower the target of allowable emissions, the larger the required shifts will have to be. Among fossil fuels, coal use in particular must significantly decrease. Such structural shifts improve energy self-sufficiency, thus enhancing energy security. However, the impact of diversification of energy sources, measured by the Herfindahl index, under climate mitigation scenarios differs by country and scenario. Until 2050, diversity improves in all three countries relative to the base year (year 2001). After that, in some countries the diversity should decline because of high dependence on a specific energy source. Overall, it is revealed that energy security improves along with climate mitigation. This improvement will also contribute to the economy by reducing energy procurement risks.

This view is based on the following paper.

Matsumoto, K. and Andriosopoulos, K. (2014) Energy security in East Asia under climate mitigation scenarios in the 21st century. Omega [doi: 10.1016/j.omega.2014.11.010].

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