Manabu Watanabe (Japan) 1; Tomoki Ehara (Japan) 1; Yasuaki Hijioka (Japan) 2; Makoto Oba (Japan) 2; Takuya Togawa (Japan) 2; Ronald Canero Estoque (Japan) 2; Katuji Nagai (Japan) 3; Midori Kitahashi (Japan) 1
1 - E-Konzal Co. Ltd.; 2 - National Institute for Environmental Studies; 3 - Papier
The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows that climate risk is composed of three main components, namely hazard, exposure and vulnerability. While hazard and exposure have been considered by many studies on climate risk, regional vulnerability has not been taken into account sufficiently. Furthermore, here is a need to develop a method for assessing regional vulnerability so that climate risk can be assessed properly.
Hence, the objective of this study is to develop a method for assessing regional vulnerability in the context of climate change and its impacts in Japan. Moreover, it also aims to develop a tool for visualizing the vulnerability assessment results in order to help the municipalities understand their respective vulnerabilities by themselves.
This study applied three steps for assessing regional vulnerability. Firstly, literature review about vulnerability in Japan and all over the world was conducted, focusing on the indicators used and suggested in the studies reviewed. In total, more than five hundred vulnerability indicators were collected. Secondly, from this set of indicators, specific sectoral vulnerability indicators were identified through an impact chain analysis, a conceptual approach developed by German institutions. Thirdly, the identified indicators were synthesized for assessing regional vulnerability in each sector, e.g. rice cultivation, land ecosystem, water resource, flood and heat-related disease among others. With the three steps, this study developed an assessment system that enabled municipalities to select indicators by themselves from those identified and also assess regional vulnerability.
This study finds that impact chain approach is very effective. First, with impact chain, this study could specify the direct impact of climate change and the elements exposed to the impact, e.g. people, livelihood, ecosystems. Second, it could identify the indicators attributed to exposure, an element of risk that could influence the potential consequences of climate change impacts. Finally, with impact chain, this study could identify valid vulnerability indicators. Using this method, this study identified approximately two hundred regional vulnerability indicators across twenty sectors.
For policy and practice, this study aims to support adaptation planning by enabling vulnerability assessment. Additionally, it aims to inform municipalities about adaptation measures that could reduce regional vulnerability. The next step for this research is the conduct of a public hearing to gather feedbacks from the stakeholders for the possible improvement of this study, especially on its relevance to the science-policy-practice interface.