Ties Against Kyoto

Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has challenged his cabinet to quit wearing jackets and ties to work in an interesting effort to help Japan meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. He is at the top of the movement that Japan’s Evironmental Ministry hopes will enable Japan to use less energy to power air conditioning units this summer. (“[Koizumi] fordert auf Plakaten und Zeitungsanzeigen legere Sommertracht im Büro und erschien am 1. Juni ohne Schlips in der Kabinettsitzung.“)The idea is that if male workers don’t have to wear jackets and ties to the office, the air conditioners don’t have to be set so low and use so much energy. This plan overlooks the fact that hot is hot and getting to come to work without a tie is hardly going to be worth the trade for a hotter office all day long.

In any event, the calculation goes that if the temperature in all offices in Japan is raised from 25 to 28 degrees celsius, then the country can avoid burning 350 million liters of oil for air conditioners. Japan’s Minister for Economic Affairs, Heinzo Takenaka, even believes that this will help turn the economy around because it will cause people to “stream into” shops and boutiques to “freshen up” their work wardrobe. (“Wirtschaftsminister Heinzo Takenaka träumt sogar von einer Konjunkturbelebung durch “Cool Biz”. Bürokraten und Angestellte sollten in die Boutiquen strömen, um ihre eintönige Arbeitskluft aufzufrischen.“) It seems to me that people will be “streaming” all right–with sweat–and will definitely need to “freshen up,” but I think it is a little overly optimistic to think this will be what turns the economy around.

All of this just seems a little contrived to me. But if they think this will work, more power to them.

9 Responses to Ties Against Kyoto

  1. Anonymous says:

    25C (77F) is already hot!
    28C (82.5F) is unbearable 

    Posted by Daylan Darby

  2. Anonymous says:

    No kidding. I know many people who would say that 77 degrees is already unbearable, for the context of sitting in an office of that temperature all day. 

    Posted by john fowles

  3. Anonymous says:

    Er, John, April 1 was two months ago. Right? Right?!!!! 

    Posted by Ronan

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ronan, maybe I’m being a little slow here, but I don’t know what you mean. 

    Posted by john fowles

  5. Anonymous says:

    Um…I complain when the paralegal next door heats our side of the office to 75!  

    Posted by lyle stamps

  6. Anonymous says:

    Imagine how much energy they could save by wearing shorts and tank tops to work!!!

    It is interesting to note that there is a correlation between the standard of living and energy consumption. So, rather than decreasing the amount of energy the US is consuming, we should increase the amount that the rest of the world is using. 

    Posted by Floyd the Wonderdog

  7. Anonymous says:

    The part about people streaming into shops to change their wardrobes as a way of restarting the economy is clearly nuts. But air conditioning is an immense energy cost.

    I think 28 C isn’t that bad if you aren’t used to working in an ice box. Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to be used to setting the AC so low that they have to bundle up in sweaters in August.

    My wife and I always say that, when you visit Utah, you should dress the opposite of the weather. If it’s cold outside, people will have their heaters on way too high, so you’d better wear shorts and a t-shirt (you won’t be going outside anyway). If it’s hot outside, people will have their air conditioners on way too high, so you’d better wear long pants and a sweater (once again, you won’t be going outside anyway)… 

    Posted by RoastedTomatoes

  8. Anonymous says:

    RT, I agree with you that our homes and offices are far too chilly in the USA. I think that 82.5F is a little hot even for people not used to a 65F office.

    But I have often been annoyed at overly-cooled offices and churches. Church is probably the worst and fits the way you described all of Utah stereotypically. In other words, I doubt that what you say is true as a generalization of Utah, but I have experienced that attending Church or the Temple during summer, anywhere in the US that I am familiar with, I am guaranteed to freeze. I have sometimes contemplated wearing longjohns to the Temple to try to make it a more comfortable experience for me.

    I also hate having the AC blast in my face in the car, although I would miss AC if I didn’t have it, I’m sure of that. 

    Posted by john fowles

  9. Anonymous says:

    RT: Lol…reminds me of going to church; your advice has to be followed or you will fry in the winter/freeze in the summer.

    living w/o air conditioning my first summer in Philly was quite an experience…i highly recommend it. once you get yourself used to the extreme temperatures w/o lots of air conditioning/heating; it works well…  

    Posted by lyle stamps–>

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