Energy Efficiency Policy in Comparative Perspective

Daniel and Nancy Okimoto Conference Room

The Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford, in cooperation with the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ) is convening a workshop to discuss the political economy of energy efficiency and its role in international relations.  The project will examine Japan in a comparative framework with other developed and developing energy-consuming nations.

Japan’s economy is extremely energy efficient based on measures such as energy intensity, and Japanese energy-efficient technologies are among the most advanced in the world.  Hence, energy cooperation has become an important centerpiece of Japanese foreign policy making in recent years.  Among other things, Japan played a key role in facilitating the Kyoto Protocol restricting CO2 emissions in 1997 and the Japanese government sees energy efficiency and environmental controls as a crucial basis for cooperation with its neighbors, particularly China.

Cooperation on the energy and the environment has wide implications not only for Japan but also for countries across the globe.  It offers an alternative paradigm to more traditional competition over energy resources that can escalate tensions, not least in East Asia.  Despite its potential to offer peaceful solutions to increased energy demand, there is limited existing research that examines the formation of policies to promote energy efficiency domestically and internationally.

Our workshop will attempt to answer a series of questions that have important policy implications: Why are some nations more successful at increasing the efficient and environmentally sound use of energy than others?  What obstacles block the formation of such policies?  How can the case of Japan provide useful examples that can be more broadly applied?