Outcomes report for the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund, Ministry of the Environment, Japan's Strategic Research and Development Domain S8 "Comprehensive research on climate change impact assessment and adaptation policies"

Global warming "Impacts on Japan" – Comprehensive impact assessment and adaptation measures based on new scenarios

April 11 (Friday), 2014
Yasuaki HIJIOKA, Senior Researcher
Sustainable Social Systems Section
Center for Social and Environmental Systems Research
National Institute for Environmental Studies
hijioka [at] nies.go.jp
TEL: 029-850-2961

     The Environment Research and Technology Development Fund, is a public research fund administered by the Ministry of the Environment, Japan. Under this fund, research was carried out under 12 sub-themes to facilitate: ① Investigating impact assessment and effectiveness of adaptation measures based on national and regional climate change projections ② Scientific support to promote adaptation measures in local authorities, and ③ Contributions to planning and implementation of adaptation measures in the Asia-Pacific region - as part of the Strategic Research and Development Domain S-8 "Comprehensive research on climate change impact assessment and adaptation policies".

     At the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) WGII Session held in Yokohama, Japan from March 25-29 and the 38th session of the IPCC, outcomes of global scale scientific studies on impacts, adaptation and vulnerabilities were made public.

     Outcomes to date from projects with the objective of responding to the questions of addressing the issues of potential impact risks for Japan and the effectiveness of adaptation measures aimed at reducing attendant risks were introduced, as part of the IPCC's global endeavors to project future risk and propose countermeasures.

1. Project overview

(1) Title: Comprehensive research on climate change impact assessment and adaptation policies (S-8 Global Warming Impact and Adaptation Research Project Team)
(2) Research period: Initial period: 2010-2013 Latter period: 2014-2015
(3) Project leader: Prof. Nobuo MIMURA, Ibaraki University
(4) Participating institutions: 93 researchers from 28 institutions, including Ibaraki University and the National Institute for Environmental Studies
(5) Project budget: 350 million yen

2. Outline

     This project aims to promote research to address new topics relating to countermeasures for global warming. Precision impact and adaptation assessment models (bottom-up models) are developed to establish the physical and economic impacts in precisely defined fields for Japan, while estimating the effectiveness of adaptation measures. Concurrently, top-down national impact assessment models are developed. By integrating these with the bottom-up models precision impact assessments on a national level are produced. By these means, the degrees to which future risk impacts can be reduced by the implementation of adaptation measures are assessed.

     A monitoring methodology for different levels, including administrative and municipal areas is developed, thus elucidating global warming impacts for the administrative divisions of Japan. Furthermore, by developing easily-applicable methodologies to visualize the outcomes of projections on the regional level, regional adaptation policies are facilitated.

     Finally, in order to prioritize adaptation measures for the Asia-Pacific region and to analyze cost effectiveness, standardized assessment indicators for effective adaptation to vulnerabilities and impacts in developing countries are developed on the basis of the research outcomes for Japan.

3. Summary of individual research outcomes

① This study comprises systematic impact projections for Japan, based on new Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios. It establishes common scenarios for national impacts of GHG concentration pathways and climate scenarios in order to project impacts for the mid-21st century (2031-2050) and late 21st century (2081-2100).
② The consequences for Japan across a broad range of fields of global warming impacts throughout the 21st century were reaffirmed. These include escalating impacts on 1) Public health and safety 2) Quality of life and economic activity, and 3) Ecosystems and other environmental fields - stemming from detrimental effects on health, water resources and agriculture of meteorological disasters, heat stress, and other relevant factors.
③ There will be variations in the extent and degree of climate change impacts, in particular those associated with rising temperatures. In this context, with progress in global-scale mitigation measures, it will be possible to broadly curb detrimental impacts for Japan. Conversely, if adaptation measure are not implemented, it can be assumed that the detrimental impacts of climate change will result in a deterioration of circumstances when compared with the present situation. It was thus indicated that both mitigation and adaptation measures are essential in order to respond to encroaching climate risks.
④ "Adaptation Measure Guidelines" were produced on the basis of advanced practical research relating to global warming impacts and adaptation in regional local authorities to promote adaptation policies.
⑤ Tools to support impact assessment and adaptation strategies for use in initiatives by local authorities and developing countries were developed.
⑥ Methodologies for the assessment of climate change vulnerability and effective adaptation were developed on the basis of case studies, including those for the Mekong Delta and Ganges Delta. Based on these outcomes, adaptation measures tailored to specific regions and appropriate adaptation resource mechanisms were proposed.

Reference materials (Japanese language only)

4. Note

     The climate scenarios (projections on future temperature rises, etc.) used in the comprehensive impact assessments in the above research outcomes reports, selectively applied existing low, interim and high level projections produced for the IPCC fifth assessment report on global warming. As such, it should be noted that this project does not constitute independently produced projections on future climate change.