Issue-Oriented Research Programs

Low-Carbon Research Program

With the idea of building the scientific foundation that society will use to tackle the goal of keeping the global mean surface temperature increase below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels, this program will conduct observations mainly in the Asia-Pacific region to assess the balances of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming as well as assessing impacts and control measures. To accomplish that, the program will use surface and aerial observations, and an observation satellite to be launched in 2017, to develop a highly reliable three-dimensional global-scale greenhouse gas monitoring system. Furthermore, climate change projection models, impact assessment models, and integrated socioeconomic assessment models will be combined and used to discuss the need for and feasibility of building a sustainable, low-carbon society following the path indicated by this comprehensive research program.

Sustainable Material Cycles Research Program

In preparation for realizing the future vision for an international resource use strategy, this program will elucidate supply chain structures involved in resource use and the factors that shape those supply chains. It will also assess the effects of resource conservation and environmental conservation throughout the life cycles of products and services. Measures for transitioning to sustainable material cycle based societies will be proposed. Additionally, the program will conduct development and evaluation pertaining to the advancement of sustainable, integrated waste management systems in Japan and other parts of Asia, and on the treatment, resource recovery, and other fundamental technologies needed for recycling, reuse, and reduction in harmony with the low-carbon society and other initiatives, as well as their systematic implementation in society.

Harmonization with Nature Research Program

This program will shed light on the mechanisms by which the four major factors behind the biodiversity crisis (overexploitation/development, cropland abandonment, invasive alien species/pollution, and climate change) affect biodiversity. It will also assess and project their impacts as well as develop biodiversity conservation measures and adaptation strategies. Additionally, the program will assess the ecosystem functions and services generated by biodiversity, and propose strategies, such as watershed management in harmony with nature, for sustainably benefiting from ecosystems.

Research Program on Health and Environmental Safety

This program will conduct systematic research on methods of assessing and managing health- and environment-related risks such as transgenerational effects and risks to higher-order biological functions, new systems for assessing ecological impacts, chemical analyses and understanding of dynamics that are higher throughput and more comprehensive, research on PM 2.5 and other air pollutants, and on regional water environment conservation. This research will be accomplished by means of eight research projects (PJ): Health impacts of chemicals on children and future generations, comprehensive analyses of multiple and unknown chemicals, ecological risk assessment based on ecological models, comprehensive assessment of ecological impacts, multi-scale chemical dynamics, the state and impacts of PM 2.5 and other air pollutants, development of methods for improvement and assessment of regional water quality, and building a comprehensive system to assess and manage risks. By these means the program will establish systems to assess health and environmental risks, for which there is currently no established approach, as well as monitoring and prediction systems and management technologies that are comprehensive and rapid.

Environment-Economy-Society Integration Research Program

With its point of departure being the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, this program develops multilayer models that quantitatively analyze the solutions to environmental problems including those of socioeconomic activities, sustainable material cycles, harmonization with nature, and health and environmental safety, on a variety of scales including global, Asia, Japan, municipality/local, and livelihood. From the perspectives of environmental, economic, and societal sustainability, the program conducts quantitative and qualitative analyses pertaining to the future vision for each scale, and also designs and evaluates international and local/urban policies needed to realize the intended future vision. Additionally, the program will build systems to assist the implementation and realization of proposed policies, response measures, and technologies.