David Fickling
For David Fickling's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (left) with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing in November 2022. Scholz is travelling to China again this week with the goal of shoring up economic ties with Germany's biggest trading partner.
Apr 15, 2024
An EV trade war with China would be an own goal for carmakers
As German Chancellor Scholz visits China this week, he should push for stronger ties between Chinese and European automakers, especially in the EV market.
People wait to collect drinking water on March 14 amid an ongoing water crisis in Bengaluru, which has been hit by drought.
Apr 2, 2024
India’s most innovative cities are running out of water
Drought is crippling India's tech hubs of Bengaluru and Hyderabad, casting a dark shadow on these cities' attractiveness in the era of climate change.
Around 90% of China’s increased oil demand between 2021 and 2024 comes from chemical feedstocks, driven by the manufacturing of products such as those sold by fast-fashion retailers Shein and Tamu.
Apr 1, 2024
China's Shein and Temu are driving oil, not Toyota and GM
The cause behind recent a surge in China's oil demand is not to be found in people's transport habits, including car use, but in fast-fashion clothing.
China’s greenhouse footprint can be boiled down to three factors: its economic growth, the energy intensity of that growth and the carbon intensity of that energy.
Mar 7, 2024
China’s growth ambitions will erase the world’s climate gains
Global greenhouse pollution hit a record and increased 1.1% last year, the International Energy Agency reported. That was almost entirely a China story.
The most relevant measure to gauge plastic bag use isn’t how many carriers get used, but how much material is consumed and how much pollution is produced in their making.
Jan 25, 2024
Plastic bag bans have failed in every way except one
Reusable plastic bags need to be used 52 times before its environmental impact drops below that of a disposable one, according to a 2018 Danish study.
Voters in countries representing more than 40% of the world’s population, including India, Indonesia and the U.S., will go to the polls between now and the end of 2024.
Dec 18, 2023
Democracy and climate politics are set to collide next year
Voters in countries representing more than 40% of the world’s population will go to the polls between now and the end of next year.
The COP28 climate conference is being held at Expo City Dubai for a total of 100,000 attendees, 2,000 of which are from fossil fuel companies.
Dec 11, 2023
COP28 like a trade show? That’s not a bad thing.
Some lament the presence of many fossil fuel representatives among the 100,000 attendees of COP28 in Dubai, failing to recognize their key role.
The world’s carbon footprint is split into three roughly equal portions: China, all developed nations and the rest of the world.
Nov 10, 2023
How China’s downturn could save the world
The world’s carbon footprint is split into three roughly equal portions: China, all developed nations and the rest of the world.
A lithium mine near Itinga, Minas Gerais state, Brazil
Oct 6, 2023
We’re not even close to running out of green minerals
Rising reserves challenge fears of mineral shortages in green transition.
In Australia, past El Nino events have led to destructive fire seasons, including the catastrophic Black Summer of 2019-2020.
Sep 22, 2023
Australia hoped to dodge wildfires. El Nino has other plans.
The 1983, 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2015 fire seasons, some of the most damaging in the country’s history, all occurred during El Nino.
A coal-fired power plant in Shanghai in October 2021
Aug 31, 2023
More focus on mine safety could help China’s energy security too
China has seen success in improving safety in a coal industry that killed thousands of miners every year during the 2000s, but methane remains a threat.
A demonstration is held in Hong Kong on Thursday over the release of treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.
Aug 24, 2023
The Fukushima hysteria has a lesson for the nuclear renaissance
From the reaction prior to the Fukushima release across Asia, you’d think Tokyo was embarking on a program to poison the region’s water supplies.
A young girl drinks water from a faucet in Bamako. At a site just 55 kilometers from Mali's capital city, pure hydrogen gas seeps from the ground like crude oil or methane.
Aug 1, 2023
Natural hydrogen could change the world, if we understood it
We know next to nothing about how natural hydrogen is produced, let alone how to extract and transport it most efficiently.
India is facing a potential future food crises due to severe climate change despite its per capita carbon emissions being lower than some countries such as Germany. 
Jul 25, 2023
India’s food security is being choked by climate change
A warming planet is destabilizing the cycles of rain and sun that are keeping India fed.
An extreme heat warning in Death Valley, California, on July 15
Jul 21, 2023
Our civilization was built for a climate that’s vanishing
Weather disasters linked to climate change like those unfolding across the northern hemisphere will affect more and more of us.
Japan Times
Jul 10, 2023
Shipping needs nuclear power to solve its emissions problem
The shipping industry’s energy needs far exceed the capacity of green sources like solar and wind. There is only one clean alternative: nuclear power.
Japan Times
Jun 16, 2023
What a smoky U.S. can learn from past climate denialism in Australia
National disasters, such as the bush fires in Australia and now Canada and the U.S., can sway voters — but the shift is often only slight.
Japan Times
May 31, 2023
Just how safe is Fukushima’s ‘contaminated’ water?
To build the clean energy sector the world needs, nuclear power advocates must sway public opinion their way. Just crashing through won’t cut it.
Japan Times
May 19, 2023
Why natural disasters seem worse than our most dire predictions
It’s human nature to latch on to the most easily available snippets of information, particularly when it comes to understanding climate change.
Japan Times
May 16, 2023
A torrid summer risks stalling Asia’s climate goals
Predictions of a season of heatwaves have sent coal stockpiles soaring. Eventually, all that carbon will be burned.


Later this month, author Shogo Imamura will open Honmaru, a bookstore that allows other businesses to rent its shelves. It's part of a wave of ideas Japanese booksellers are trying to compete with online spaces.
The story isn't over for Japan's bookstores