Japan tells millions to save electricity as record heat wave strains power supply

The government has urged citizens in the capital to turn off lights and switches for three hours in the afternoon and use air conditioning “appropriately” as the country grapples with growing electricity shortages .

The demand comes despite experts warning that record temperatures could continue for weeks.

“Please save as much energy as possible, for example by turning off lights that are not in use,” the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Monday. He said the proper uses of air conditioning were included to “prevent heat stroke”.

Japan’s electricity supply has been strained since March, when an earthquake in the northeast forced some nuclear power plants to suspend operations. Meanwhile, demand is at its highest level since 2011, when Japan was hit by the strongest earthquake in its history. The ministry warned that the mismatch between supply and demand was becoming “serious”.
But with recent temperatures reaching dangerous levels, power rationing won’t be easy.

Tokyo experienced scorching heat for a fourth straight day on Tuesday after setting records for the month of June over the weekend.

On Saturday, temperatures in the capital reached 35.4 degrees Celsius (about 96 degrees Fahrenheit), while the city of Isesaki northwest of Tokyo reached 40.2 degrees Celsius (about 104 degrees Fahrenheit) – the highest top of the country in June since record-keeping began in 1875. Meanwhile, the city of Nagano in central Japan reached 35.1 degrees Celsius (about 95 degrees Fahrenheit) and the Takada district in Niigata prefecture on the west coast recorded 36.7 degrees Celsius (about 98 degrees Fahrenheit).

The sweltering temperatures are expected to last the rest of the week and possibly worsen, meaning power demand is expected to increase as residents stay home and turn on the air conditioning.

Japan’s heatwave is just one of many happening around the world as scientists warn extreme weather is becoming more common due to the worsening climate crisis.
Soaring temperatures in India and Pakistan in recent weeks have forced schools to close, damaged crops, put pressure on energy supplies and kept residents indoors – with some experts wondering if such heat was suitable for human survival.
    More than 125 million people are under heat alert across the United States
And a huge heat dome engulfed parts of the United States, bringing temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (about 37 degrees Celsius) to major metropolitan areas including Minneapolis, Chicago, Nashville, Memphis, Dallas, New Orleans and Atlanta.

Adding to the heat, flooding inundated Yellowstone National Park, wildfires erupted in Arizona and New Mexico, and severe storms caused widespread power outages in the upper Midwest and the Valley of the Ohio River.

“More frequent and intense heat waves in cities are to be expected with further global warming,” said climatologist Winston Chow of the College of Integrative Studies at the University of Singapore Management.

“I fear that for such places it is [now] the new climate normal…if nothing is done to adapt and mitigate the causes of climate change.”

The impact of extreme heat on the elderly, who make up 28% of Japan’s population, is particularly concerning, Chow said.

“The elderly are biologically and physiologically predisposed to be more vulnerable to heat-related injuries, and more than a quarter of Japanese people are over the age of 65. The risk of heat stress and stroke without any attempt to adaptation would be very high in Tokyo,” Chow said.


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