Wednesday, December 1

Climate change adaptation law enacted to require local governments and companies to reduce global warming damage

The “Climate Change Adaptation Law” aimed at controlling the damage to agricultural products caused by global warming and the damage caused by disasters and abnormal weather was passed and passed at the House of Councilors plenary session on the 6th. The law clarifies the roles played by local governments and businesses, as well as the national government, on the premise that the effects of global warming have already appeared in Japan. In addition to requesting the national government to formulate a “climate change adaptation plan,” the local government is also required to create a “regional climate change adaptation plan” according to the local situation as an “obligation to make efforts.”

The Climate Change Adaptation Law has four pillars: “Comprehensive promotion of adaptation,” “Development of information infrastructure,” “Strengthening of adaptation in the region,” and “International expansion of adaptation, etc.” As a “comprehensive promotion of adaptation,” the government is obliged to formulate a “climate change adaptation plan” and to evaluate the effects of climate change on the Ministry of the Environment approximately every five years. The government has already formulated the plan (Cabinet decision on November 27, 2015), but the plan will be reviewed based on the latest impact assessment results.

In addition, as “improvement of information infrastructure,” the National Institute for Environmental Studies (Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture) was positioned as a national-level base for collecting and providing information on the effects and adaptation of climate change. As for “strengthening adaptation in the region,” we request prefectures and municipalities to make efforts to function as a “regional climate change adaptation center” that collects and provides information on climate change impacts and adaptation. The effects of climate change and adaptation measures differ from region to region, and the region is also required to take action to control damage. In addition, as “international expansion of adaptation, etc.”, we are promoting international cooperation on adaptation, and requesting business operators to promote “adaptation business” that contributes to adaptation to climate change.

The Ministry of the Environment stated in the briefing on the outline of the bill before the enactment of the law, “The average annual temperature in Japan is rising at a rate of 1.19 degrees per 100 years. It is expected to rise further in the future.” As the effects of climate change, we cited examples of crop damage such as “white immature graining of paddy rice” in which rice becomes cloudy and “mandarin orange dermatosis” in which orange peels float. In addition to the effects on the ecosystem such as coral bleaching that is already progressing, it also exemplifies the possibility that the number of patients with strong typhoons and heat stroke will increase in the future.

Figure Background of the bill preparation from the Figure Background of the bill preparation from the “Climate Change Adaptation Bill Outline” prepared by the Ministry of the Environment (provided by the Ministry of the Environment)