Systems option for sustainable development - Effect and limit of the ministry of international trade and industry'S efforts to substitute technology for energy

Watanabe C (1999). Systems option for sustainable development - Effect and limit of the ministry of international trade and industry'S efforts to substitute technology for energy. Research Policy 28 (7): 719-749. DOI:10.1016/S0048-7333(99)00018-9.

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Abstract

The global environmental consequences of CO2 discharge resulting from energy use are causing increasing concern regarding the sustainability of our development future. Despite the fragile nature of its energy structure, Japan successfully overcame two energy crises in the 1970s and managed to maintain economic growth which resulted in a dramatic improvement in its industrial technology. The success of these efforts can be attributed to the substitution of an unconstrained production factor (technology) for a constrained production factor (energy), a process similar to that seen in an ecosystem. The Ministry of International Trade and Industry's (MITI) industrial technology policy functioned well in stimulating such substitution, thereby inducing the vitality of industry for this substitution. Given the two-sided nature of CO2 emissions and energy consumption, Japan's experience can provide informative suggestions for addressing current worldwide concern regarding global warming, particularly with respect to post Kyoto countermeasures. Nevertheless, following the relaxation of energy constraints and the succeeding `bubble economy' and its bursting, MITI's ability to induce substitution efforts by industry has weakened, leading to a fear that Japan may again face the prospect of energy and environmental constraints. This paper attempts to analyze a systems option for sustainable development by introducing a comprehensive systems approach with a detailed description of energy and non-energy technologies in an energy-economic model. By utilizing this approach, MITI's efforts to induce industry initiatives, and subsequent efforts to overcome the two energy crises by substituting technology for energy are reviewed. In addition, sources of the current fear concerning energy and environmental constraints and the effectiveness of MITI's industrial technology policy in view of this fear are analyzed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: MITI's policy; Inducement; Technology substitution; Technology knowledge stock of energy R&D; Global warming
Research Programs: Dynamic Systems (DYN)
General Research (GEN)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:10
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2016 10:03
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/5671

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