Energy / Climate Change

January 5, 2008


Japanese Government Reports Progress in Efforts to Counter Heat Island Effect

Keywords: Climate Change Government 

A Japanese government liaison committee, released a report on July 18, 2007, describing progress of the measures undertaken in fiscal 2006 to reduce temperatures in urban areas. The basis for government action is the Outline of the Policy Framework to Reduce Urban Heat Island Effects, adopted in March 2004. This phenomenon is the unnatural increase in urban temperatures caused by heat sources in cities as well as concrete and other structures in cities that capture and store heat.

In the category of the reduction of anthropogenic exhaust heat, the use of low-emission vehicles, among other measures, has become widespread, thanks to tax breaks provided by the Car Tax and the Automobile Acquisition Tax. The number of low-emission vehicles on the road reached 14.4 million at the end of fiscal 2006, already exceeding the goal of 10 million for fiscal 2010.

As for measures to reduce the heat caused by stopped or slow traffic, the introduction of the advanced Vehicle Information and Communication System (VICS) reduced the time spent in traffic because of congestion by 13% to 3.31 billion person-hours per year, surpassing the target of a 10% reduction from the 3.81 billion person-hours spent per year in fiscal 2002. Furthermore, in the field of changing lifestyles to reduce extra exhaust heat from air conditioners, promotions like the Cool-Biz campaign, which recommends the use of light, casual wear instead of heavy business suits during the summer, have steadily become more prevalent.

The Outline of the Policy Framework to Reduce Urban Heat Island Effects focuses on reducing anthropogenic exhaust heat, improving urban surfaces, improving urban structure, and improving lifestyles. It concentrates on concrete measures to be achieved and performance indicators, together with steps to strengthen systems for observation of the heat-island effect and to promote research.

Posted: 2008/01/05 02:39:44 PM
Japanese version