• Climate Change

Japan to provide rainfall warning tech to developing countries

The Associated Press
Guests enter the convention center hosting the 2022 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on Friday, prior to the start of the summit on Sunday.

The government will unveil a plan to support the rollout of an early warning system to monitor heavy rainfall in developing countries reeling from the effects of global warming at the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP27), which will kick off Sunday in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

The government hopes to lead the world’s efforts to combat climate change by providing disaster prevention technologies and know-how cultivated in disaster-prone Japan.

Torrential rains, heat waves and droughts have been occurring frequently around the world in recent years. According to a report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the frequency of extreme climate events will likely increase as temperatures rise.

The human and economic impact of climate change tends to be particularly extensive in developing countries where social infrastructure is fragile.

Developing countries have been strongly calling for assistance to deal with climate-related damage. How developed countries will respond to their calls will be a focus of this year’s conference.

In March, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres stressed the need for widespread use of an early warning system, saying one-third of the world’s population, mainly in developing countries, is not covered by such a system.

The government is considering creating a disaster warning system by utilizing small radars operated by Weathernews Inc., a Chiba-based weather data company. The radar can predict localized torrential rains based on the development of clouds.

The government will also work with Japanese insurance companies to provide weather derivatives to help developing countries build economies that are more resilient to disasters.

Weather derivatives are a kind of damage insurance that provides partial compensation in the event of a decline in agricultural or commercial production due to bad weather.

“We want to contribute to the support being offered to developing countries in cooperation with Japanese companies that have excellent technology and know-how. This will also lead to the overseas expansion of these companies,” Environment Minister Akihiro Nishimura told The Yomiuri Shimbun ahead of COP27, which runs through Nov. 18.

At the conference, 198 countries and regions participating in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will discuss climate change countermeasures.

Whether the international community can demonstrate a concerted effort toward decarbonization will be put to the test, amid deepening divisions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

At COP26 in Glasgow last year, an agreement was reached to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels” in this century. However, the combined climate pledges of 193 parties under the Paris Agreement could still put the world on track for about 2.5 C of warming by the end of the century, according to a U.N. climate change report released last month.

At this year’s COP, the aim is to compile a plan to strengthen emission reductions during the 2020s. However, reaching an agreement will not be easy, as several countries have reverted to coal-fired thermal power generation, which produces high emissions, due to energy insecurity since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.