Energy Security and Decarbonisation as a Common Goal

German-Japanese Energy Transition Council experts discuss potential solutions

  • News 07.03.2023

During their regular meeting in Tokyo at the beginning of march, the experts of the German-Japanese Energy Transition Council (GJETC) discussed the current state of the energy transition in both countries and on a global level. One year after Russia started the war against Ukraine, the best possible balance between the two objectives of secure energy supply and the commitment to climate neutrality was the main focus of the energy policy part of the meeting.

Representatives from science and industry also discussed options for decarbonizing the (petro)chemical industry and the building sector during the two-day symposium in Japan's capital. Looking back to the first winter after the start of the war by Russia against Ukraine, the countries of the European Union and the Japanese economy have come through it much better than initially predicted – both in terms of energy security and the anticipated economic slowdown. Nevertheless, there is a great need for advice to political decision-makers about the continuing dependence on fossil fuels and the search for, and use of, ecologically and economically suitable alternatives. The know-how of the German-Japanese panel and further experts invited to the meetings plays an important role in the analysis of the current situation and the evaluation of future scenarios.
"Germany intends – also with the backing of the EU – to combine the goals of an increased energy sovereignty and climate neutrality by 2045 by accelerating the expansion of the use of renewable energy sources, but also through new energy-saving activities. So far, this approach, combined with the construction of own LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) gas terminals, has been able to compensate for the Russian gas supplies suspended since the autumn of 2022. At our Council meeting in Tokyo, we were again able to debate which solutions make sense for the necessary greenhouse gas emission reduction – taking into account the partly different framework conditions of Japan and Germany," reports Dr. Stefan Thomas, German Co-Chair of the GJETC and Director of the Division Energy, Transport and Climate Policy at the Wuppertal Institute.

"If we take a look at the current circumstances regarding energy, it goes without saying that the Ukrainian situation has invigorated discussions on balancing energy security and climate change issues. In Japan, we are therefore focusing on a broader mix of technologies," says Prof. Tatsuya Terazawa, Co-Chair of the GJETC from Japan, about the difficult task. "The role of the GJETC, which contributes scientifically to these discussions by pooling mutual knowledge and experience, is becoming increasingly important. In terms of both energy security and climate change issues, we strongly recognise that seeking a realistic and smooth energy transition, especially decarbonization while enhancing industrial competitiveness, is a common and serious challenge for both countries."
Complementing these fundamental debates in Tokyo, the German-Japanese Energy Transition Council also addressed specific industrial sectors in individual sessions regarding their energy and climate footprint and transition processes. In a stakeholder dialogue with representatives of the German and Japanese building sector, the members intensively discussed political framework conditions and approaches to reduce emissions from existing and new buildings. The Council will publish a study on this topic at the end of the second quarter of this year. A study on the decarbonization of the (petro)chemical industry will also be published by the GJETC 2023.

The Wuppertal Institute is coordinating the Council's work as secretariat together with ECOS on the German side; on the Japanese side, the Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEEJ) is in charge of this task.

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