My Thoughts on the Nuclear Incident and Energy Policy Reform

*This blog post is a serious one, so please skip it if you are expecting a fun story.

Photo from Energy Tribune

When I started this blog, I promised to talk about my perspective on Japan's changing energy policy, given the nuclear accident back in March. As many of you know, I am an energy policy expert who grew up and have work experience on both sides of the Pacific Ocean, so I was hoping to share my views not only on the accident per se but also on the handling by the media and its long-term implications.

I do however apologize to those of you who were interested in my thoughts, because I now have to refrain from talking about it on a public domain like this. Since I started working for my current employer, I am deeply and professionally involved in the ongoing energy policy reform in Japan, and the situation is becoming more and more complex and politically touchy everyday. I am excited to be a part of such historic reform, but it is also frustrating not to be able to share my thoughts.

The only thing I can say here is that a simple rule of thumb applies to energy policy: this is not a black or white issue. Every energy source has pros and cons, ranging from the cost to safety, reliability, the environment, and national security. What we need to have is the right mix of them. We are obviously not anywhere near that point, given the threats from climate change, and no one really even knows where that point is for sure.

From ancient times, the media tends to focus on very assertive, sometimes extreme views and opinions, and the experts who know the issue best often can't be so assertive that their views are buried by the media. In the time of crisis and uncertainty, such tendency only gets stronger because people want to know a simple answer. So, I would urge you to always critically and comparatively challenge what experts are saying on the media, and to be careful when they start simplifying the issue and giving you a definitive answer.

1 comment:

  1. Media is a business that sells eye-catching information. The best-sellers are almost always assertive and/or extreme.

    Good point on the right mix! Keep on posting.