Energy, Security and Environment in Northeast Asia (ESENA) Publications

The Energy, Security and Environment in Northeast Asia (ESENA) Project analyzes the intersection of energy, security, and environmental issues surrounding large-scale energy use in Northeast Asia, and based on this analysis is developing recommendations for joint U.S.-Japan policy initiatives directed toward realizing a sustainable and secure energy future in the region.

The ESENA Project is a collaborative effort between the Berkeley, California-based Nautilus Institute and the Tokyo-based Center for Global Communications (GLOCOM) at the International University of Japan. Funders for the Project are the U.S.-Japan Foundation and The Japan Foundation’s Center for Global Partnership.

View Archive of ESENA Publications here.

ESENA is a three-year project (1996-1999). During its three years, the Project will investigate three different energy-related issue-areas in Northeast Asia, as follows:

  • Year 1 – transboundary air pollution (acid rain)
  • Year 2 – regional seas marine issues
  • Year 3 – innovative financing of advanced clean coal technology in China.

The motivation for the ESENA project is the belief that Northeast Asia faces a dilemma in its choice of energy strategies. In the coming decades, rapid economic growth will likely drive a massive increase in energy demand. Although the current financial crisis in Asia has damped near-term energy growth throughout the region, energy demand is expected to sharply increase in the longer term as the financial crisis is brought under control. Even if Asia rebounds slowly from its financial slump, the critical issues being explored by the ESENA project remain. In particular, the primary projected strategies to meet energy demand–expansion of (dirty) coal, imported oil, and nuclear power–are problematic on both environmental and security grounds. The ESENA project is seeking alternative ways to mitigate the detrimental environmental and security impacts of present strategies. Ultimately, the ESENA project aims to promote energy development in the region that will be sustainable on both environmental and security grounds. Two fields of study which underlie much of the ESENA Project work are “energy security” and “environmental security.”

The heart of the ESENA Project is a Policy Study Group (PSG), consisting of influential and pragmatic experts from government, research organizations, and the private sector in Japan and the United States, whose task it is to select, based on well-defined criteria, a set of promising policy candidates for one or more joint regional initiatives. The PSG is supported in its task by commissioned background expert papers. The results of the PSG’s deliberations are disseminated to policymakers, the mass media, and the general public via face-to-face meetings, printed material, and the Internet and World Wide Web.

The “ESENA Project process” consists of the following steps and tasks:

1. Commissioning of Background Expert Papers

Background Expert Papers are commissioned to provide an analytical and contextual framework for developing and refining the PSG’s policy proposals. Papers are being or have been commissioned for each of the three ESENA topic areas: 1) transboundary air pollution, 2) regional seas marine issues, and 3) innovative financing mechanisms. The papers are reviewed by the Nautilus Institute and GLOCOM staffs, the PSG co-chairs, and three to five external peer reviewers.

2. Convening of Workshops

During each project year two workshops consisting of 14 (7 Japanese and 7 American) PSG members and other invited experts and policymakers have been or will be convened as follows:


ESENA1: August 1996 Project Design
ESENA2: November 1996 Transboundary Air Pollution
ESENA3: December 1997 Regional Seas Marine Issues
ESENA4: July 1998 Regional Seas Marine Issues
ESENA5: February 1999 Clean Coal Technology in China
ESENA6: October 1999 Project Synthesis


3. Publishing and Disseminating ESENA Outputs

Background Expert Papers

  • Abstracts and full texts of all commissioned papers will be posted on the Nautilus Institute and GLOCOM websites. Notice of the posting of papers will be given via ESENANet, the electronic information service of the ESENA Program (visit the Sign Up page to add your name). In addition, there are plans to publish a volume containing the ESENA Papers.

Policy Synthesis Report

  • At the end of the three-year project a Policy Synthesis Report will be produced in English and Japanese. The Report will provide a statement of the key initiatives decided upon by the PSG. This will be backed up by a summary overview of the key issues described in the Expert Papers. The Report is the culmination of the ESENA Project. It will be distributed to a wide range of policy- and opinion-makers in Japan and the U.S. In addition, it will be accessible on the Nautilus and GLOCOM websites.

Policy Briefings in Tokyo and Washington

  • Two types of policy briefings will be held in Japan and the U.S. during the course of the Project–briefings to policymakers, and briefings to the press.

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