Saturday, 4 September 2010

Masochistic Environmentalism

"We don't need the air-conditioner. Let's just leave the windows open. With the breeze, it's cool enough."

Cool. Yeah, freaking cool. It's 35゜C out there. Jeez.

Never mind if you're soaked in sweat working in the lab. No a/c, please. Global warming, remember? Reduce CO2 emission! Do your part in energy conservation!

Welcome to Japan. This is where people really do care about saving the environment. It's not about saving endangered whales, though. (I doubt anyone misses the dodos.) Japanese environmentalism is all about climate change. After all, no Japanese would want to see the archipelago become the second Atlantis. Which is why the nation is determined to cut CO2 emission by 25%.

Considering the already-low level of CO2 emission in Japan, this proves a big challenge. It is therefore, necessary to call for radical measures, which often verge on the brink of masochism. One example, would be raising the temperature setting for the a/c during summer. But in extreme cases, some people will even try not to switch on the a/c unless "absolutely necessary". Apparently, there is some nasty masochistic thingy going around.

It is when you're sitting in the room, sweating like a pig, that you feel like killing yourself and reincarnate as a bottle of coke. Then you'd be sitting in a freezing vending machine, spared from the merciless summer heat.

Japan has 2.6 million beverage vending machines. This accounts for at least 0.17% of the total energy consumption in Japan. But instead of doing something about reducing the number of vending machines in the streets to cut CO2 emission, Japan chooses to raise the thermostat to 28゜C during summer and to lower it to 19゜C during winter.

"You grew up in a tropical country. Shouldn't you have gotten used to this kind of temperature already?" My grumblings about the room being too hot often meets the same remark.

True. In Malaysia, the temperature hovers at 32゜C all year round. Hot indeed. But indoors, the a/c's are always in full blast.

Climate change? Let Japan handle that! Meanwhile, we'll just pray that my hometown Penang island doesn't beat Japan to the seabed...

1 persons flung their shoes:

Yap! It's 3088.. said...

Wouldn't operating a/c at a higher temperature only wear out the machine quicker, as it will cool at shorter intervals and closer between? I don't think the embodied carbon and energy to replacing the machine are worth operating at a higher temp. My guess is a net carbon gain. Japan will sink faster;)