Grenada becomes first CARICOM country to have their National Adaptation Plan approved by its cabinet

Grenada becomes first CARICOM country to have their National Adaptation Plan approved by its cabinet

By Georgina Wade

Grenada is the first Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country to complete its cabinet approved National Adaptation Plan (NAP).

The document was officially approved by Cabinet decision in November 2017 after two years of development and involves key aspects of Grenada’s national strategic development target, Grenada’s draft National Sustainable Development Plan 2030, priority sectoral corporate plans, and the Public-Sector Investment Programme (PSIP).

Introduced by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), NAPs help countries reduce their vulnerability to the impacts of climate change through comprehensive medium and long-term climate adaptation planning.

Merina Jessamy, Permanent Secretary for Environment said, “In developing the NAP, consultations were held with over 160 representatives from government and private actors across numerous sectors including water, food security, coastal zone management, resilient infrastructure, disaster risk reduction and disease prevention.”

In the case of Grenada, the NAP includes a number of actions and projects to be implemented in order to reduce Grenada vulnerability to climate change. This involves giving potential donors and funding agencies ideas about funding opportunities in an effort to give Grenada a leading edge in accessing finance to implement the various projects.

And the NAP is already paving the way for some influential projects in Grenada. A water sector resilience project valued at approximately $42 million USD has been submitted and approved by the Green Climate Fund.

Access the press release by clicking here.

Cover photo by Lisa Larsen/Pixabay (public domain).
Citizens unite in Cape Town’s water crisis

Citizens unite in Cape Town’s water crisis

By Leonie Joubert

With Cape Town’s water crisis so bad that its taps may soon run dry, Capetonians are working together to avert a shared disaster. The people of this city are preparing for Day Zero – a water shortage expected four months from now as Cape Town’s water crisis intensifies, likely to be so severe that the reservoirs will be virtually empty.

It sounds like a grim prospect. If it happens, it probably will be. But the good news is that across the city, regardless of differences of wealth and class, South Africans are working together to try to ensure that Day Zero never dawns.

São Paulo, Melbourne and Cape Town are three cities with one thing in common: they’ve all recently faced critical water shortages. Swelling populations, water infrastructure upgrades that aren’t keeping pace, and severe drought are on a collision course to become an urban manager’s worst nightmare, with fresh water and sanitation systems threatening to run dry – literally.

As climate change continues to ratchet up around the world, making rain patterns less predictable, and heatwaves and droughts harsher and stronger, many more cities will face similar intersecting challenges in future.

Surprising co-operation

But a study of water use behaviour amongst Cape Town residents over the past three years shows surprising levels of co-operation around efforts to conserve the city’s “common pool resource”, its municipal water reserves. And the story is one which belies the media reports that people are selfishly panic-hoarding ahead of the prospect of the water being turned off to most of the city.

This February, Cape Town announced the possible arrival of Day Zero, an emergency response measure that the city says it will put in place, should the dams run down to their last remaining 13.5% of available water.

To conserve the dams’ final dregs, the city says it will shut off water to homes and businesses, and trickle-feed the remaining reserves through to critical services like hospitals. Residents will have to queue at communal water distribution points around the city to get a daily ration of 25 litres of water.

Media reports immediately said residents of the city appeared to be panic-buying bottled water and installing bulk water storage tanks.

Pulling together

The concern was that those who had the means to install these tanks would fill them from the municipal water system, to stock up ahead of Day Zero. This would mean vastly exceeding their current daily ration of 50 litres of water per person per day, and would result in a hefty fine or higher water bills.

But a recent analysis by a behavioural economist at the University of Cape Town (UCT) shows that Capetonians’ behaviour has actually been the opposite: that they have been pulling together in the past few years, in response to various measures by the city to get people to reduce their water use.

Martine Visser, from UCT’s Environmental Policy Research Unit, has been tracking water use behaviour amongst Cape Town’s residents, to see how effective various measures by the city have been in getting people to change their behaviour: media education campaigns, dramatic tariff increases, daily limit restrictions and fines for those who break the restrictions – and a few more.

Looking at 400,000 homes across the city, Visser and her colleagues saw an overall decrease in household water use of nearly 50% in just three years, dropping from 540 litres per household per day in January 2015 to 280 litres in January 2018.

“The worst possible outcome right now would be if people lost faith in each other’s ability to safeguard the remaining water”

It took drought-crippled Melbourne a decade to reduce residential water use by 40% from 2000 to 2010 during Australia’s “millennium drought”. In California similar water behaviour measures resulted in a per person reduction of 63% – from 1995 to 2016.

Most interesting in the analysis, says Visser, is the fact that wealthier Capetonians are doing their bit. Since the height of summer 2015 the richest households have cut their water use to that of the lowest income households, who have much less scope to reduce their water consumption further.

This dramatic drop is partly explained by the fact that wealthier families can in fact afford to invest in drilling boreholes or wells and installing bulk water storage tanks, which have helped reduce demand on the municipal supply. But it is also a consequence of sharp water reduction efforts by individuals.

Together, this has helped push back the arrival of Day Zero until early July. Hopefully, by then, the winter rains will have returned and begun recharging dams and groundwater.

More committed

So behavioural economics suggests that if people believe they are rallying around a common good, like saving water, they become more committed to doing it. But there’s a warning too, says Professor Visser: if people lose faith in each other they will turn to selfish, hoarding behaviour. There is evidence to suggest this twin pattern may apply not only with water-saving but in the case of other shared resources as well.

“The blame game that has dominated media forums is largely inaccurate and counter-productive, and it perpetuates free-riding and selfish behaviour which threatens this common resource pool”, warned Visser recently in the local press.

“The worst possible outcome right now would be if people lost faith in each other’s ability to safeguard the remaining water as part of a common pool resource, and instead rather started withdrawing water from the municipal supply for their own bulk storage.”

The message for drought-stressed cities in future, in terms of encouraging residents to willingly adopt more sustainable behaviour, is to rally them around a common cause, and build mutual trust by showing that people are cooperating towards everyone’s shared wellbeing.

Leonie Joubert is a freelance science writer and author, whose books include Scorched: South Africa’s changing climate, and Boiling Point: people in a changing climate. This article was originally published on Climate News Network.

Cover photo by Shiva Creations/Pixabay.
Report finds smart surfaces save cities billions through increased resilience

Report finds smart surfaces save cities billions through increased resilience

By Georgina Wade

A new report from clean energy advisory and venture firm Capital E finds that urban investment in smart surface strategies could secure billions of dollars in net financial benefits.

The cost-benefit analysis conducted in three cities, Philadelphia, El Paso and Washington D.C., concludes that smart surfaces can strengthen resilience, improve health and liveability, expand jobs and slow global warming. Smart surfaces include green roofs, solar panels, permeable pavement and reflective pavement.

Additionally, these strategies could potentially deliver half a trillion dollars in savings from urban employment nationally.

Source: U.S. Green Building Council

The report highlights concerns about cities becoming urban heat islands, especially as more effects of climate change become evident. The damage and cost of increased temperature and air pollution are particularly acute for urban low-income urban areas having profound, directly measurable effects on both physical and mental health outcomes.

Smart surface technologies, like cool roofs, help manage high temperatures by reflecting light and heat rather than absorbing it. Green roofs, so roofs with a plant cover, for example, can also provide a means of improving resilience through stormwater management and water quality while providing a means of filtration.

Additionally, investment in the green economy offers jobs across a wide range of skill levels with relatively low entry barriers. Installing smart surfaces in urban areas would help create relatively well-paid jobs and increasing the availability of positions in construction.

And, city officials are responding positively to the report’s findings. As former mayor of Austin Will Wynn notes, “Delivering Urban Resilience provides an entirely convincing case that city-wide adoption of ‘smart surfaces’ like green and cool roofs and porous pavements are both cost-effective and essential to ensuring that our cities remain liveable in a warming world.”

The Delivering Urban Resilience report also provides a methodology for quantifying the full costs and benefits for smart solutions giving cities the ability to financially quantify green options.

 Download the full report by clicking here.

Cover photo by US Air Force: About 2,100 trays of sedum, a regional high desert plant, cover most of the 21st Space Wing Headquarters building roof. It was selected because of its drought resistance. The green roof, installed in 2007, is designed to reduce energy consumption and rainwater runoff, and extend the life of the roof, ultimately saving taxpayer dollars. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lea Johnson).
Climate risk disclosure can help companies create competitive advantage

Climate risk disclosure can help companies create competitive advantage

By Caroline Fouvet

Businesses across all sectors will be affected by climate change. Corporations, from Starbucks to Google, will be affected by climate impacts that can disrupt their supply chains and damage their physical infrastructure. However, comprehensive climate change adaptation assessments and strategies are infrequently considered as part of companies’ business plans. As suggested by Professor Michael Porter, the perception of “an inevitable struggle between ecology and the economy” leads some companies to be wary of environmental regulations, often viewing them as expensive procedures that lie outside of core business planning.

Professor Porter, however, disagrees and claims that there is a complementary relationship between environmental protection and business.  He argues that companies that pay attention to environmental risks are likely to be more competitive. The ‘Porter hypothesis’, formulated in the 1990s, is still relevant today especially with the implementation of disclosure policies on climate change–related risks gaining traction.

In July 2015, France introduced mandatory climate disclosure requirements as part of its law on “energy transition for green growth”. Institutional investors must now report on how their investment policies integrate climate change considerations, and where applicable, climate risk management. This was followed the following year by legislation passed by the European Union’s parliament targeting pensions funds and requiring them to include climate change in their investment strategies. Climate disclosure requirements could help companies to be prepared for emerging climate risks and increase their resilience.

Furthermore, in 2017 the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures published its final recommendations to help companies disclose climate-related risks and opportunities. Following the release of these recommendations, a group of 16 leading banks is participating in a UNEP Finance Initiative project, co-lead by Acclimatise and Oliver Wyman, that is developing a methodology for the banks to help them strengthen their assessments and disclosure of climate-related risks and opportunities.

Although the businesses are becoming increasingly aware of climate risks to their operations, there remains plenty of room for progress. For example, even though the insurance sector is particularly vulnerable to climate-related risks, its business strategy does not shield it from the impact of climate change. A study shows that many assets are becoming uninsurable, leading to an estimated US$ 100 billion ‘protection gap’ – the difference between the costs of natural disasters and the amount insured.

Assessing the impact of climate change on investments and adapting business strategies accordingly can help businesses save money in the medium-long term. For that to happen, it is up to governments to implement disclosure requirements. For companies it is important to pre-empt such regulation, and take early action to reduce climate risks to both core operations and supply chains.

Cover photo by Dan Schiumarini on Unsplash.
EBRD & GCECA event: Advancing TCFD guidance on physical climate risk & opportunities

EBRD & GCECA event: Advancing TCFD guidance on physical climate risk & opportunities

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation (GCECA) are hosting an event “Advancing TCFD guidance on physical climate risk and opportunities”, which will be held on 31 May at the EBRD’s headquarters in London. This event will build on the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which crystallised a growing concern of investors and business leaders over the physical impacts of climate change on the economy and financial markets.

The TCFD’s final recommendations, released for the G20 summit in June 2017, recommended the inclusion of metrics on physical climate risk and opportunities into financial disclosures and called for further research and concrete guidance over what the appropriate metrics should be. Corporations and financial institutions need to agree on common metrics to ensure transparency and data comparability. Since then, the recommendations of the European Union’s High Level Expert Group on sustainable finance, released in January 2018, have also highlighted the need for a common taxonomy on climate change adaptation and metrics for physical climate risk and opportunity disclosures.

This event will be a forum for senior representatives from the financial and business community to discuss and identify the way forward for the development of metrics for disclosing physical climate risk and opportunities, as well as pointers for integrating physical climate risk considerations in scenario-based decision making by businesses and financial institutions.

The conference is sponsored by the EBRD and GCECA, and will feature the findings from expert working groups that include representatives from Allianz, APG,AON, Bank of England, Barclays, BlackRock, Bloomberg, BNP Paribas, Citi, DNB, Deutsche Asset Management, Lightsmith Group, Lloyds, Meridiam Infrastructure, Moody’s, OECD, S&P Global, Shell, Siemens, Standard Chartered, USS and Zurich AM, Acclimatise and 427 are providing the Secretariat function.

A detailed agenda will be circulated in due course. Please note that this is an invitation only event. More information can be found on EBRD’s website.

As member of the technical secretariat, Acclimatise is closely involved in the preparation of this event.

Acclimatise is also co-leading a United Nations Environment Programme – Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) project exploring climate-related risks and opportunities for financial institutions. The project has a Working Group of 16 leading international banks and will produce a harmonized methodology for banks that will help them strengthen their assessments and disclosure of climate-related risks and opportunities.

Cover photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash
Acclimatise forms strategic partnership with debut event InterFLOOD Asia

Acclimatise forms strategic partnership with debut event InterFLOOD Asia

The first edition of InterFLOOD Asia is set to make its debut from 11-12 April 2018 at Suntec Singapore.

Running alongside the fifth edition of InterMET Asia, focused on extreme weather, InterFLOOD Asia focuses on the challenges and consequences presented by floods in relation to climate change and rapid urbanisation.  A two-day conference, free hands-on workshops and an international exhibition of flood management companies will offer professionals from the private, public and economic sectors the opportunity to discover the latest thinking on how to anticipate, mitigate and manage flood impacts.

Acclimatise is a strategic partner of the event, alongside supporters which include GFDRR, The World Bank, UK Flood Partnership, Mott MacDonald, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and RIMES.

The insightful two-day conference programme includes world class speakers with first-hand experience in forecasting, mitigation and recovery. Key issues which will impact designing, planning and constructing future flood-proof infrastructure and early warning systems will be examined via case studies and discussion. Sessions will cover issues such as the role of big data in forecasting and management, structural solutions, non-engineering solutions, technical certification and recovery processes.

The international exhibition hosts a range of leading flood management products, services and technology, including Royal Haskoning, Parafoil, FM Global, Ericsson, Geodesign and Satellite Catapult. Norway based AquaFence will present and display the original AquaFence flood protection system. Julie Ransell Global Sales-/Marketing Coordinator explained that visitors “will experience the AquaFence system in a real flood situation through our brand new Virtual Reality.”

A series of free workshops will he held over the two days, with sessions covering health and climate change, bringing meteorology and hydrology together, mitigating the impact of disasters on business and advances in forecasting.  Baron will be running two of the workshop sessions.

Acclimatise clients can benefit from a special conference rate of 25% discount. When registering for a conference pass, click ‘Enter Promotional Code’ and type in ‘Acclimatise’.

To find out more and to register, visit

Cover photo by Lee Aik Soon on Unsplash.
Newly launched project will boost capacity of The Bahamas to access world’s largest climate fund

Newly launched project will boost capacity of The Bahamas to access world’s largest climate fund

Press release

The Bahamas’ people, economy and environment are highly vulnerable to a variable and changing climate. Research indicates that climate change impacts could cost the economy up to $500 million per year by 2025 (7 years from now). The Bahamas is also committed to pursuing a low carbon pathway. This will reduce the country’s ‘carbon footprint’, improve energy security and reduce energy costs. While preparing for such impacts and a low carbon pathway are critical, they are costly. The Green Climate Fund (known as the GCF), offers an attractive source of funding to achieve these goals. The GCF is currently capitalized at $10.3 Billion, and is the largest climate change fund in the world.

With grant funding from the GCF, the Ministry of Environment and Housing (MoEH), in collaboration with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), is launching a project that aims to improve The Bahamas’ capacity and ‘readiness’ to access GCF funds. Project activities include developing operational procedures for Government to engage effectively with the GCF; providing training about the GCF and how to access grants, loans, equities and guarantees from it; and the development of a pipeline of potential project concepts (which align with national priorities) for submission to the fund. These activities are not one-off measures, but will form part of an ongoing process to strengthen the country’s engagement with the Fund.

The project is approximately 12 months in duration, and will follow a country-driven, participatory and inclusive approach to training and development of the pipeline. It is being delivered by a consortium led by Acclimatise, a UK and Barbados-based climate change adaptation and climate finance consultancy, including local firm SEV Consulting. By project completion, The Bahamas will have significantly increased its capacity on accessing GCF finance.

Photograph of inception workshop discussion from 13th March 2018. Photo by: Maribel Hernandez.

The project inception workshop was hosted by the Ministry of Environment and Housing, the coordinating institution for the GCF, on 13th March 2018. Representatives from government, academia, the private sector and civil society attended. Minister Romauld Ferreira provided stirring opening remarks and stressed the importance of The Bahamas taking a collaborative approach in its response to climate change.


About Ministry of the Environment and Housing (MoEH)

The Ministry of the Environment and Housing in The Bahamas oversees projects, programmes, policies and other initiatives to maintain the integrity of the environment of The Bahamas and works to ensure sustainable development of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

About the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC):

The Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) coordinates the region’s response to climate change. Officially opened in August 2005, the Centre is the key node for information on climate change issues and the region’s response to mitigating and adapting to climate change. CCCCC sought accreditation to the GCF in 2015 to undertake and scale up both mitigation and adaptation projects across the region in order to drive a paradigm shift in the region’s development patterns.

About the Green Climate Fund

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a global fund created to support the efforts of developing countries to respond to the challenge of climate change. GCF helps developing countries limit or reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapt to climate change. It seeks to promote a paradigm shift to low-emission and climate-resilient development, taking into account the needs of nations that are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts.

It was set up by the 194 countries who are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2010, as part of the Convention’s financial mechanism. It aims to deliver equal amounts of funding to mitigation and adaptation, while being guided by the Convention’s principles and provisions.


Dr Rhianna M. Neely-MurphyMinistry, of the Environment and Housing:

Cover photo by Ricardo Mangual/Flickr (CC BY 2.0); View of Nassau, The Bahamas.
Government inaction over new building regulations could cause a tripling of heatwave deaths by 2040

Government inaction over new building regulations could cause a tripling of heatwave deaths by 2040

By Georgina Wade

Inaction by the UK government over new building regulations that would ensure homes, hospitals and schools do not overheat, could spell death for thousands of people every year.

A 2017 report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) warns that the number of people dying as a result of heat is expected to more than triple to 7,000 a year by 2040 with hospitals and care homes being particularly vulnerable.

And Britain’s recent seasonal temperature averages have proved to be anything but normal. In June 2017, Britain experienced its longest period with temperatures above 30°C since 1976. On the hottest day of the year in 2016 there were almost 400 extra deaths, while a 10-day heatwave in 2003 brought about 2,000 heat-related deaths and another 680 fatalities occurred during hot weather in 2006.

The CCC made the initial recommendation for new regulations in 2015 but faced rejection by ministers, citing a commitment to “reduce net regulation on homebuilders”.

The Government’s current Heatwave Plan contains advice on protecting vulnerable people before and during hot weather. But it is a guidance; not a policy to adapt buildings to prevent the problem in the first place.

Deputy Chair of the CCC Baroness Brown believes the issue will only get worse with a lack of regulation.

“More than 90 percent of our population live in urban areas and as we have all been experiencing, heat is a significant problem,” she said. “We know it’s bad for productivity, we know it’s bad for wellbeing and we know it’s bad for health yet building regulations don’t cover heat and the management of high temperatures.”

Research conducted by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) found that 45% of building professionals estimate there is ‘little or no additional cost’ of incorporating passive cooling measures in new buildings at the design stage.

Additionally, the report found that retrofitting was more likely to involve a higher cost compared to built-in overheating measures. Experts also stress that air conditioning should not be the first choice as it is expensive, energy-intensive, and expels water heat into the environment, making the problem of overheating worse for others.

With a lack of regulation being the most commonly reported barrier cited by building professionals to address risks of overheating, government intervention is essential. And Lord Deben, Chairman of the CCC, stresses there is no time for delay.

“The events of the past year have been, by almost any measure, exceptional,” he said. “However, it is now time for government, and for parliament, to act. Climate change is happening, not waiting. It is neither justifiable nor wise to delay further.

Cover photo by Ján Jakub Naništa on Unsplash
Swaziland on track to accessing the Green Climate Fund

Swaziland on track to accessing the Green Climate Fund

By Caroline Fouvet

Swaziland, a lower middle-income country bordering Mozambique and South-Africa, is committed to becoming a developed economy by 2022. Climate change, however, stands in the way of this transition, as droughts and erratic rainfall patterns hamper development efforts. The 2015-2016 El Niño-induced drought took a heavy toll on agricultural production, in particular sugarcane, maize production, and livestock, while also bringing hydropower production to a standstill. Overall, the drought is estimated to have cost the country USD 325 billion, which amounted to 7.01% of Swaziland’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016.

Against this backdrop, the country’s Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs (MTEA) supported by the Africa Climate Change Fund (ACCF), is implementing a project to catalise investments in a low-carbon and climate-resilient development. Acclimatise was selected to carry out the project in three parts, including an encompassing country assessment, capacity building, and concept note and proposal development.

As part of the capacity building component, a training of trainers (ToT) took place last week to equip national project developers, managers, and coordinators from 17 public and private sector organisations with the necessary skills to prepare concept notes for submission to the Green Climate Fund (GCF). Those will be focused on the water, energy, agriculture, natural resource management and urban sectors.

As a result of the ToT, a pool of 20 national trainers on project development for climate finance will transfer the acquired skills and knowledge within and beyond their organisations. Concept notes prepared under the ToT will be moved forward for submission to the GCF in the coming months under the third component of the project, in collaboration with C4 EcoSolutions. Swaziland is committed to accessing the GCF in order to implement transformative projects to tackle climate change, which threatens decades of development gains.

Participants of the ToT attend last week’s workshop.

Cover photo by Acclimatise: Group photo of the ToT that took place in Swaziland last week.
Report finds investing in disaster resilience is a no-brainer

Report finds investing in disaster resilience is a no-brainer

By Elisa Jiménez Alonso

A new report from the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) finds that every dollar spent on disaster resilience saves society six dollars.

Earlier this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had declared 2017 the costliest year on record for weather and climate disasters. 16 extreme events had losses exceeding $1 billion and causing a total loss of $306 billion, three times more than in the record year 2005.

The NIBS study analysed results from 23 years of federal disaster mitigation grants provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), concluding that investing in disaster resilience saves six times more than it costs.

Additionally, the researchers looked at the benefits of designing new buildings to exceed 2015 International Codes (I-Codes) provisions and found that every extra dollar spent here saves four.

Both strategies together could prevent 600 deaths, 1 million nonfatal injuries, and 4000 cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the long-term.

The public-sector disaster resilience building strategies the project team studied include:

  • For flood resistance, acquiring or demolishing flood-prone buildings, especially single-family homes, manufactured homes and 2- to 4-family dwellings.
  • For wind resistance, adding hurricane shutters, tornado safe rooms and other common measures.
  • For fire resistance, replacing roofs, managing vegetation to reduce fuels and replacing wooden water tanks.

The strategies to exceed minimum requirements of the 2015 I-Codes include:

  • For flood resistance (to address riverine flooding and hurricane surge), building new homes higher than required by the 2015 I-Codes.
  • For resistance to hurricane winds, building new homes to comply with the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety FORTIFIED Home Hurricane standards.
  • For fire resistance in the wildland-urban interface, building new buildings to comply with the 2015 International Wildland-Urban Interface Code.

The report is accompanied by a white paper and addendum that outline public and private sector incentives for disaster resilience investment.

Download the full report by clicking here.

Cover photo by Troy Jarrell on Unsplash