The Global Carbon Budget 2019 Seminar Tsukuba, Japan

The Global Carbon Project (GCP) Tsukuba Office and Center for Global Environmental Research (CGER) of NIES organised a Global Carbon Budget 2019 Seminar on 9th December 2019. The seminar provided an opportunity to learn about the Global Carbon Budget and to hear insights and experience from four researchers in Japan, who contributed to the carbon budget and are part of the GCP international network.

The seminar was a follow up to the Global Carbon Budget 2019, which was released in the previous week (4th December - see our press release here for more information). The Global Carbon Budget (GCB) has been published annually since 2006 to provide an accurate and transparent assessment of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emission and the natural carbon uptake by the land and ocean. It helps to understand the global carbon cycle better and provides a reference source for several governments and international organisations, including the IPCC.

The seminar began with a brief welcoming by GCP Tsukuba International Office Director, Dr Peraphan Jittrapirom. Dr Yoshiki Yamagata, head of GCP, then outlined the finding of GCB which included three important points:

  • Worldwide CO2 emissions in 2019 have increased from the previous year, but the rate of increase has slightly declined; mainly due to global economic downturns.
  • Emissions from coal are decreasing, thanks to a cheaper natural gas and strong transition away from coal in some countries (USA and EU). However, emissions from natural gas and oil continue to increase
  • Even though climate change policies and transition toward low-carbon technologies have progressed, it is still insufficient to achieve global emissions reduction targets.

Next, the four researchers who were involved in the report gave their lectures. Firstly, Dr Shin-ichiro Nakaoka, National Institute for Environmental Studies introduced his work on the observation of greenhouse gases in the Pacific Ocean and CO2 in the ocean surface, which is part of the Global Environment Monitoring Project. He explained how observations, started since 1995 with the cooperation of cargo ships operating in the Pacific region are still going strong and providing precision inputs into the GCB. Dr Etsushi Kato of the Institute of Applied Energy (IAE) them shared his insights from his involvement with the bottom-up estimation, which is one of the verification methods conducted by GCB 2019. The method was used to understand the CO2 balance between the atmosphere and the terrestrial ecosystem.

Dr Naveen Chandra of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) explained their contribution to the GCB in providing on-shore and off-shore flux estimates using the MIROC-ACTM inverse model. He also shared the challenges faced in shifting estimation approach of GCB in recent years. He also acknowledged the valuable observations provided by the CONTRAIL project of NIES that had improved understanding of year-to-year fluctuations in CO2 flux in the Southeast Asia region. Finally, Dr Tsuneo Ono of the Fisheries Research and Education Agency (FRA) reported his activities and empirical results from the field. He has been conducting routine CO2 monitoring in the open waters within Japanese boundary since 2011.

In the last section, all the researchers gathered to discuss their works and experience in a bi-lingual panel discussion moderated by Dr Peraphan Jittrapirom, followed by a question-and-answer session with the participants.