Number 3 Daiba

What looks like a peaceful Japanese garden is Number 3 Daiba, a fortification built in 1853 as a response to attempts by US Commodore Perry to open Japan. Beyond that is the artificial island of Odaiba, which was constructed after World War II and one of the planned sites for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Between the two high-rise apartment building on the left is Tokyo Gate Bridge, the furthest extent of the city into the bay. Number 3 Daiba was originally built several kilometers off the coast of the city in open water. This image comes from our book Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Emptiness: Tokyo Landscapes. Click on the image for a larger view.

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Kasai Rinkai Park

Kasai Rinkai Park is on Tokyo Bay. It is an artificial island built to preserve the natural habitat of Tokyo bay destroyed by development. The bridge in in the background is the main highway that connects Tokyo with Chiba, Tokyo Disneyland, and Narita International Airport. The loudspeakers on the post warn people of approaching tsunamis. This image is from our book Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Emptiness: Tokyo Landscape. Click on the image for a larger view.

Washington D.C.

Taking off from Ronald Reagan International Airport in Washington is quite an experience. First, the airport itself feels more like a bus station than an international airport. Second, the aircraft have to climb quickly and bank sharply away from the city. One thing strikes you looking down on the nation’s capital is how short it is. Unlike most capitals, there are no tall buildings. The Washington Monument, which is not technically a building, is the tallest structure in the city. Click on the image for a larger view.

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The Streets of D.C.

Washington is really clean, at least near the mall. It is also not very colorful. It is certainly not new. But strangely it does not feel very lived in. Click on the image for a larger view.

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Shipping and Carbon

This week, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is meeting to discuss carbon emissions from shipping. Over 80% of our goods are transported by ship. This map shows 2014 national CO2 emissions in relation to the 2014 shipping CO2 emissions of 532 million tonnes from container, bulk carrier, vehicle and general cargo ships, and chemical and liquid tankers, representing 34,112 vessels with a combined deadweight of 1.2 billion tonnes. Red indicates nations with carbon emissions 5% or greater than shipping, blue -5% or less. Brazil and Canada have emissions within ±5% of total shipping emissions. Shipping as a carbon source would rank 12th out of the 206 nations shown. Oil and LNG tankers as well as passenger and fishing vessels are not included in this analysis. The shipping activity represented here is 1.6% of all global emissions. Shipping is expected to become 20% in 2050. Data sources: World Bank, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, International Council on Clean Transportation. Click on the image for a larger view.

April 13th update: the IMO did agree to a 50% reduction in emissions from 2008 levels by 2050. While this cannot be a final target, it is a good step. This is the first time the IMO has set carbon targets.