Japan pushes using satellite data to fight climate change

  • Environment

Japan pushes using satellite data to fight climate change

The Environment Ministry has proposed to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that the data on atmospheric constituents observed by Japanese or other countries’ satellites should be used to implement the Paris Agreement, an international framework to combat global warming.

The Paris Agreement requires each country party to the deal to calculate its greenhouse gas emissions. The satellite data is expected to help ensure the accuracy of these calculations. The ministry began testing the accuracy of satellite observations in Mongolia earlier this year.

Countries usually calculate their emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and methane, from industry and energy consumption statistics. On the other hand, observation of the atmosphere from space has been ongoing for several years by Japan’s Ibuki, a greenhouse gases observing satellite launched in 2009. Technologies to estimate the amount of greenhouse gas emissions on the ground have been accumulated from the data. In addition to helping to verify national estimates, it may also be easier to track emissions in developing countries where reliable statistics are not available.


At the general meeting of the IPCC that started Wednesday in Kyoto, parties to the agreement discussed the guidelines on calculation and verification.

Satellite observations will be more accurate if they are compared to the obtained data on the ground. With the cooperation of Mongolia, Japan has started a demonstration experiment using the latest Ibuki-2 satellite, which was launched in October last year. Ibuki-2 can distinguish between natural and anthropogenic CO2 emissions by measuring other components of fossil fuel consumption that are emitted together with CO2.

Under the program, which continues through the next fiscal year, the aim is to improve the technology to estimate greenhouse gas emissions by comparing satellite data and statistics.

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Publication Date
Wed, 05/08/2019 - 12:37