In December 2020, the Suntory Foundation's Reexamining Japan in Global Context forum gathered for two virtual seminars. The seminars provided an update to prior discussions about energy hosted by the forum in 2012 and 2013. Appropriately, the corresponding Special Forum Report is titled “Update: The Future of Energy.”
Around the world, countries and companies are faced with urgent and challenging energy trends. On the one hand, energy needs keep rising, especially among low-income countries, as living standards necessarily increase. On the other hand, rising greenhouse gas emissions impose unbearable climate change risks and significant transition challenges. The world's economies must rapidly decarbonize – but how? In light of the climate crisis, what do possible energy futures look like in Japan and elsewhere? And how might the COVID-19 pandemic affect the shifting energy landscape?
On December 7, the forum spoke with Nobuo Tanaka, a Distinguished Fellow at the Institute of Energy Economics Japan and past Executive Director of the International Energy Agency. The forum last met with Mr. Tanaka in 2012.
Mr. Tanaka offered insightful analysis on a range of topics, including the viability of carbon capture and storage, the emerging hydrogen economy, advanced nuclear designs, sustainable finance, and pandemic-driven changes to fossil fuel demand.
On December 21, the forum followed up with Dr. Cho-Oon Khong, the Chief Political Analyst with Shell International. The forum last met with Dr. Khong in 2013, following the publication of Shell's “Oceans” and “Mountains” energy scenarios.
Dr. Khong provided wide-ranging updates on Shell's scenario work, the fast-changing global energy landscape, and the critical importance of resilience to climate-friendly pandemic recoveries.