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251. A Year into the COVID-19 Pandemic

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March 11, 2021, which marks the 10th year since the Great East Japan Earthquake, is also the 1st year since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a pandemic. Many lives been lost and mobility containment measures to curb the spread of infection have resulted in a major shift in how people live, work, travel and interact.

Although these changes have temporarily reduced anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, their medium- to long-term effects are limited and will result in negligible reduction of global warming by about 0.01°C, which is way too far far from achieving the 2°C and 1.5°C goals of the Paris Agreement by 2050. Every country needs to review its ambitious climate change mitigation measures for Glasgow COP26, which is scheduled to be held in November.

An FAO study showed that greenhouse gas emissions from the global food system accounted for 18 billion tons in 2015, accounting for 34% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Of this, 71% comes from agriculture, land use and land use changes, and the rest comes from supply chain activities such as retail, packaging, transport, fuel production, waste management and industrial processing.

Last October, Japan formulated the Green Growth Strategy Through Achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2050. The idea is that the era in which responding to global warming is a constraint on economic growth is over, and we have entered an era in which we see it as an opportunity for growth internationally. JIRCAS is a partner in the field of technological development in developing countries such as reduction of methane / N2O emissions, carbon storage technology in forests and agricultural land and ocean, and construction of sustainable food system, which are mentioned as technical examples in the declaration. By working together, we are contributing to science and technology diplomacy to solve global issues toward carbon neutrality.

 

References

Nature. Editorial. A year in the making. Nat. Clim. Chang. 11, 179 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-021-01010-z

Food systems are responsible for a third of global anthropogenic GHG emissions, Nature Food (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s43016-021-00225-9 , dx.doi.org/10.1038/s43016-021-00225-9

Contributor: IIYAMA Miyuki (Research Strategy Office)