Category: Features

Podcast: Adaptation and Water Security with Dr Catherine Grasham & Dr Ellen Dyer

Podcast: Adaptation and Water Security with Dr Catherine Grasham & Dr Ellen Dyer

Living in poverty often means a struggle for water security. Rapid urban growth, unregulated pollution from industry, extreme floods and droughts, along with a lack of reliable and safe drinking water, and increasing damage to water ecosystems threatens economies and undermine the lives of the poor. Climate change is going to make these impacts even worse. But talking about water security means different things to different people. There is a danger that, in trying to become more resilient to a changing climate, that decision makers create situations that unintentionally reduce populations’ water security.

In this podcast episode, we speak to Dr Catherine Grasham and Dr Ellen Dyer from REACH to learn all about their work on water security and resilience. REACH is a global research programme funded by UK aid and led by the University of Oxford that work with a global network of academic, government, practitioner and enterprise partners.Their research looks at how to improve water security for the poor by delivering world-class science that then can transform policy and practice.


Cover photo by DFID on Flickr.

Schools for girls can help to answer climate crisis

Schools for girls can help to answer climate crisis

By Alex Kirby

If you really want to tackle the climate emergency, there’s one simple but often forgotten essential: throw your weight behind schools for girls, and ensure adult women can rely on the chance of an education.

Obviously, in a world of differences, some people can do more to tackle the climate crisis than others. So it’s essential to recognise how much neglected potential exists among nearly half the human race.

But there’s a snag, and it’s a massive one: the women and girls who can do so much to avert global heating reaching disastrous levels need to be able to exercise their right to education.

Bold claims?  Project Drawdown is a group of researchers who believe that stopping global heating is possible, with solutions that exist today. To do this, they say, we must work together to achieve drawdown, the point when greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere start to decline.

Educating girls has multiple benefits that go far beyond the individual and any particular society. It can also result in rapid and transformative change that affects the planet itself”

The project’s conclusions are startling − and positive. One is that educating girls works better to protect the climate than many technological solutions, vital though they are, and including several variants of renewable energy.

Yet, the group finds, girls and women suffer disproportionately from climate breakdown, and failures in access to education worsen this problem. After the horrendous 2004 tsunami, for example, an Oxfam report found that male survivors outnumbered women by almost 3:1 in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India. Men were more likely to be able to swim, and women lost precious evacuation time trying to look after children and other relatives.

But given more power and say in how we adapt to and try to prevent global heating, the female half of humankind could make disproportionally positive contributions, the project says.

Using UN data, it suggests that educating girls could result in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 51.48 gigatonnes by 2050. The UN Environment Programme says that total greenhouse gas emissions had reached a record high of 55.3 gigatonnes in 2018.

Multiple barriers

The Rapid Transition Alliance (RTA) is a UK-based organisation which argues that humankind must undertake “widespread behaviour change to sustainable lifestyles … to live within planetary ecological boundaries and to limit global warming to below 1.5°C”.

It says that although access to education is a basic human right, across the world. girls continue to face multiple barriers based on their gender and its links to other factors such as age, ethnicity, poverty and disability.

But the RTA adds: “Research shows that for each intake of students, educating girls has multiple benefits that go far beyond the individual and any particular society. It can also result in rapid and transformative change that affects the planet itself.”

One example it cites is from Mali, in West Africa, where women with secondary education or higher have an average of 3 children, while those with no education have an average of 7 children.

Environmentalists’ failure

It says that while the UN currently thinks the world’s population will grow from 7.3 billion today to 9.7 bn by 2050, with most of the growth happening in developing countries, recent research shows that if girls’ education continues to expand, that number would total 2 billion fewer people by 2045.

It argues that it is not just politicians and the media who fail to focus on this grossly slewed access to education. The RTA says the environmental movement itself rarely makes connections between the education of girls and success in tackling climate change.

One example of conservation work being tied successfully to educating and empowering women it cites is the Andavadoaka clinic in Madagascar, which is funded by a British charity, Blue Ventures Conservation (BVC).

The link between population growth, the lack of family planning facilities and the increasing pressure on fragile natural resources prompted BVC to establish the clinic, which has been running for over a decade and is part of a wider programme serving 45,000 people. As well as the original clinic other projects have grown up that concentrate on specific economic and participation opportunities for women and girls.

Making a difference

In the least developed countries women make up almost half of the agricultural labour force, giving them a huge role in feeding the future population. But there is a massive gap between men and women in their control over land, their ability to obtain inputs and the pay they can expect.

Individual girls and women continue to make a massive difference, whether Greta Thunberg spurring action on climate change or Malala Yousafzai, shot for trying to attend school in Afghanistan, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her campaign for girls’ education.

Women who have climbed high up the political ladder have sometimes used their success to ensure that girls are taken seriously. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female president of an African country − Liberia − used her power to expand the quality of provision in pre-school and primary education by joining the Global Partnership for Education, and the former US First Lady, Michele Obama, spearheaded the Let Girls Learn organisation.

The Rapid Transition Alliance’s conclusion is short and simple: “Educating girls brings broad benefits to wider society as well improving efforts to tackle the climate emergency.”


This article was originally posted on the Climate News Network.
Cover photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.
Meet the Acclimatise Team ft. Maribel Hernandez

Meet the Acclimatise Team ft. Maribel Hernandez

What is your role at Acclimatise? What does a typical workday look life for you?

I am a Technical Director at Acclimatise. Working at Acclimatise entails a great diversity of activities, including managing and directing projects and supporting the team to ensure we deliver high quality work, on time, and under the existing budgeting constraints. My core expertise is in climate risk management and climate finance, and facilitating processes is my “leitmotiv”.

What inspired you to work on climate issues?

Being aware that climate change is a real, complex and crosscutting issue with financial, economic, social and environmental impacts to all sectors and at all levels. The challenge is huge and there’s an urgent need for action.

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Is this non-negotiable? I’d be really unhappy if I could eat only one meal for the rest of my life! Above all I love some traditional meals, cocido, cassoulet, salmorejo, bouillabaisse, but if I had to choose I would take a good Moroccan couscous.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love having fun with my children, going out for a ride or playing racquet balls in the beach (specially in the winter), receiving our friends at home for never-ending evenings, listening to music, reading, …

Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, has been appointed by the Prime Minister as the Finance Advisor for COP26. What would you like to see happen?

There is an urgent need to align financial flows with a resilient and low carbon development pathway and the financial sector is a key player to meet the challenge of climate change. Resilience also represents a huge business opportunity for financial institutions to manage climate risks and generate long-term value. Regulators all over the world have recognized climate change as a source of macroeconomic and financial risk and have begun to take steps to manage that risk. Initiatives led by entities such as the Bank of England are resolutely charting the course for the development of guidelines and regulations to incorporate climate considerations into risk management and governance systems of financial institutions.  

Yet, there is still a strong need for raising awareness and building capacity within the financial sector about climate-related risks and opportunities. The appointment of Mark Carney as the finance adviser for CoP26 is the recognition of the importance to fully engage the financial sector to contribute to achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

What book are you reading currently? Tell us about it.

I am reading “2666”, by Roberto Bolaño. I consider it being a masterpiece of the Latin American literature, for the complexity of its structure and the strength of its content. It was released after the author’s death. It is divided into five parts where the author walks around different time periods and locations to tell the story of an elusive German writer and the unsolved murders in a city in North Mexico, called Santa Teresa.


Ancient Antarctic ice melt caused extreme sea level rise 129,000 years ago – and it could happen again

Ancient Antarctic ice melt caused extreme sea level rise 129,000 years ago – and it could happen again

By Chris Fogwill, Chris Turney and Zoe Thomas

Rising global temperatures and warming ocean waters are causing one of the world’s coldest places to melt. While we know that human activity is causing climate change and driving rapid changes in Antarctica, the potential impacts that a warmer world would have on this region remain uncertain. Our new research might be able to provide some insight into what effect a warmer world would have in Antarctica, by looking at what happened more than 129,000 years ago.

We found that the mass melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet was a major cause of high sea levels during a period known as the Last Interglacial (129,000-116,000 years ago). The extreme ice loss caused more than three metres of average global sea level rise – and worryingly, it took less than 2˚C of ocean warming for it to occur.

To conduct our research, we travelled to an area on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and drilled into so-called blue ice areas to reconstruct the glacial history of this ice sheet.

Blue ice areas are areas of ancient ice which have been brought to the surface by fierce, high-density winds, called katabatic winds. When these winds blow over mountains, they remove the top layer of snow and erode the exposed ice. As the ice is removed by the wind, ancient ice is brought to the surface, which offers insight into the ice sheet’s history.

While most Antarctic researchers drill deep into the ice to extract their samples, we were able to use a technique called horizontal ice core analysis. As you travel closer to the mountains of the ice sheet, the ice that been brought to the surface by these winds progressively gets older. We then were able to take surface samples on a straight, horizontal line across the blue ice area to reconstruct what happened to the ice sheet in the past.

Drilling into blue ice. Professor Chris Turney, Author provided

Our team took many measurements. We first looked at the fine layers of volcanic ash in the ice to pinpoint when the mass melting took place. Alarmingly, the results showed that most ice loss happened at the start of Last Interglacial warming, some 129,000 years ago – showing how sensitive the Antarctic is to higher temperatures. We think it’s likely this melting started well before the ocean warmed by 2˚C. This is concerning to us today, as ocean temperatures continue to increase, and the West Antarctic is already melting.

We also measured temperature-sensitive water molecules across the blue ice area. These isotopes revealed a large shift in temperatures, highlighting a major gap in our record at the start of the Last Interglacial. This indicates a period of sustained ice loss over thousands of years.

This period of missing ice coincides with extreme sea level rise, suggesting rapid ice melt from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. DNA testing of ancient microbes preserved in the ice revealed an abundance of methane-consuming bacteria. Their presence suggests that the release of methane gases from sediments under the ice sheet may have also played a role in accelerating the warming process.

The West Antarctic ice sheet can tell us a lot about the effect of warming ocean temperatures because it rests on the seabed. It’s surrounded by large areas of floating ice, called ice shelves, that protect the central part of the sheet. As warmer ocean water travels into cavities beneath the ice shelves, ice melts from below, thinning the shelves and making the central sheet highly vulnerable to warming ocean temperatures. This process is currently being researched on the West Antarctic Thwaites Glacier, nicknamed the “Doomsday Glacier”.

Using data from our fieldwork, we ran model simulations to investigate how warming might affect the floating ice shelves. These ice shelves protect the ice sheets and help slow the flow of ice off the continent. Our results suggest a 3.8 metre sea level rise during the first thousand years of a 2˚C warmer ocean. Most of the modelled sea level rise occurred after the loss of the ice shelves, which collapsed within the first two hundred years of higher temperatures.

These findings are worrying – especially if persistent high sea surface temperatures could prompt the larger East Antarctic Ice Sheet to melt, driving global sea levels even higher. But our findings suggest the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may be close to a tipping point. Only a small temperature increase could trigger abrupt ice sheet melt and a multi-metre rise in global sea levels.

At the moment, research suggests that global sea levels could rise between 45-82cm over the next century. However, it’s thought that Antarctica will only contribute around 5cm of this – most of this sea level rise will be caused by warmer ocean waters and the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet. But based on our findings, Antarctica’s contribution could be much greater than anticipated.

Despite 197 countries committing under the Paris agreement to restricting global warming to 2˚C by the end of this century, our findings show that even minor increases in temperature could have far-reaching impacts.


This article was originally published on the Conversation.
Cover photo from pixabay.
UNECE study maps transport infrastructure at high risk due to climate change in Pan-European region and Canada

UNECE study maps transport infrastructure at high risk due to climate change in Pan-European region and Canada

From road and rail networks to ports, airports and inland waterways, critical transport resources are facing unprecedented threats from a climate which is already changing. Spain, for example, has just suffered the most powerful storms experienced in decades, destroying bridges, cutting off roads and railway lines and submerging entire towns in coastal areas. 

In the UK, annual costs related to extreme precipitation/floods and other events, estimated at £50 million in 2010, could increase to up to £500 million by the 2040s. In the European Union, future costs for bridge protection against flooding have been estimated at over €500 million per year

However, adapting transport systems to rising climate risks has so far received relatively low attention. Helping to address this gap, UNECE today released a first of its kind study mapping key areas of the main inland transport networks and nodes, where potential climate risks in the Pan-European region and Canada may increasingly be faced. 

Since the bulk of the transport infrastructure in the region was designed for the climate of the 20th century and has been subject to low public investment in recent decades, it is crucial to map precisely the vulnerability of these assets to extreme climate events. 

Mapping growing climate risks to transport infrastructure

Digital maps developed for the UNECE region show the main transportation networks, overlain by the spatial distribution of climate change projections. This presents an initial perspective of areas of potential risk – or “hotspots” – which could warrant more in-depth assessment, offering a tool that will help to prioritize adaptation efforts. This pioneering work has no equivalent in other regions.  

The study illustrates projections for key climatic factors: 

  • Flooding from high precipitation and extreme storms

Associated with related impacts including landslides and slope failures, these will bring major risks across the region for all modes of transport (road – and airport – infrastructure, railway and inland waterways). 

Areas calling for more detailed analysis include most major “E-Road” arteries, major rail networks and the most highly populated and economically developed areas in middle and low basins of major European rivers (e.g. the Danube, Rhine, Elbe, Po, Dnieper, Don and Volga rivers).  

Key transport networks likely to be affected in Canada are in coastal British Columbia – including both Vancouver and Prince Rupert, which are major gateways to Asia – and in Eastern Canada.

  • Rising sea levels and greater wave activity

Rising sea levels and greater wave activity causing erosion put vital coastal transport infrastructure (i.e. coastal roads, railways, seaports and airports) at risk.  Over 60% of EU seaports may be under high inundation risk by 2100, causing disruptions to operations and damages to port infrastructure and vessels, especially along the North Sea coast, where the traffic of over 500 ports accounts for up to 15% of the world’s cargo transport.

Rising sea levels and increased mobility of summer sea ice are projected to affect the region’s entire Northern and Artic coastlines.  

  • Rising temperatures

Rising temperatures linked to increased heat waves and drier and hotter summers will affect roads, where pavement damages, damages to bridges and increased landslides in mountainous areas are among key risks. Areas considered particularly worthy of more detailed analysis include E-Roads in Southern Europe (South-Eastern France, Italy, Western Balkans, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Turkey) as well as in Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden and Finland). 

On major rail networks – where potential impacts include buckling of tracks, slope failures and speed restrictions – infrastructure in the Mediterranean (Spain, Italy, France), northern Europe, and Croatia are among those that could warrant more in-depth review.

Warming is also associated with increased navigational risks on inland waterways, with significant implications for the transport of goods and people, which is already problematic in parts of central Europe.

  • Permafrost melting

This will bring significant stability risks to the road and rail transport infrastructure across Arctic regions of Europe and Canada. 

Sharing country experiences can inform responses

The study builds on work since 2010 of a dedicated UNECE Expert Group, gathering governments from the region – as well as some from outside including Australia and Japan – and UN bodies such as UNFCCC, WMO/IPCC, UNCTAD as well as the European Commission. 

Complementing the mapping, the study draws on country experiences in the form of case studies, demonstrating a range of efforts that have been undertaken to analyse and adapt to climate change impacts. Examples include: 

  • Analysis of future flooding of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley in Germany. In this scenario, the closure of network sections for 21 days in 2030 due to flooding of the federal highway and the closure of ferries would lead to the rerouting of around 7,000 vehicles, 56 long-distance trains, 78 local trains transporting 500,000 people, and 119 freight trains per day.
  • Rating of extreme weather risks coupled with analysis of the physical vulnerability of road infrastructure such as bridges, tunnels and viaducts of a 750 km road network in South-Eastern France.
  • Preparation of guidelines for the adaptation of transport assets in coastal areas in Iceland, including for construction of ports and harbours on which the country is dependent for freight flows.
  • Analysis of risks and impact on operations linked to rising temperatures for Canada’s northern road network, including winter roads built over ice or compacted snow, and all-season roads built through permafrost regions.

Analysis calls for strengthened adaptation efforts 

Among the key recommendations for future work outlined in the report are for public administrations to make available geographical data for their transport networks and nodes, especially those of international importance, and to establish all their transport infrastructure, including local assets, in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). 

Analysis will need to go beyond the current spatial resolution of 12.5 km in Europe and 10 km in Canada.

The Expect Group further calls on all countries, including those with little or no experience of climate change adaptation work, to participate in its efforts.

The analytical work undertaken could eventually lead to the revision or updating of the minimum technical specifications for the construction of transport infrastructure covered by the 4 UN transport infrastructure agreements administered by UNECE: the European Agreement on Main International Traffic Arteries (AGR) for roads; the European Agreement on Main International Railway Lines (AGC); the European Agreement on Main Inland Waterways of International Importance (AGN); and the European Agreement on Important International Combined Transport Lines and Related Installations (AGTC) for intermodal transport. 

The study is available at: https://www.unece.org/index.php?id=53818


This press release was originally published on the UNECE website.
Cover photo by Cristian S. on Unsplash
Phase two is underway for the EO4SD CR Cluster

Phase two is underway for the EO4SD CR Cluster

The EO4SD Climate Resilience (CR) Cluster has embarked upon phase two of their mission to help countries around the world increase their climate resilience by using EO data. In collaboration with several International Financial Institutions (IFIs), the cluster has developed EO-based integrated climate screening and risk management products and services to help manage climate-related risks and capitalise on the opportunities that climate resilience can create. The cluster is also working to build the capacity of IFI staff and IFI client states, allowing stakeholders to autonomously use EO-based information for climate resilience decision making.

Part one’s scoping phase, identified the potential areas for EO data to increase climate resilience and set about designing systems that would enable this to inform decision making. Phase two will see further refinement of the tools and training and capacity building for staff in using the information generated from the tools. For example, in the Philippines, the pilot project used satellite-based, highly automated, open water surface inundation tools to detect both seasonal fluctuation of water bodies and long-term changes. This Inundation Monitoring Service (IMS) maps the extent of flooded areas over time, which can help build a picture of the flood response of an area. As the pilot has worked so well, the EO4SD CR cluster will work with the ADB over the next 12 months to identify more sites where the IMS can be implemented.

The Cluster has also worked with the World Bank in a pilot phase to seamlessly integrate high-resolution, global observed datasets for three climate-related variables into the World Bank’s Climate Change Knowledge Portal (CCKP), which is one of the most high-profile, publicly accessible, climate data platforms in the world. Data was chosen specifically to add depth to the portal’s observational data offer, enhancing the accessibility of reliable data whilst making sure to cater for different user skill levels. Phase two will develop new visualisations of the EO data accessible via the CCKP, and develop country-specific EO-based and climate projection data to inform sectoral risk assessment on the CCKP (including energy, water, agricultural, and health).

Data was also successfully integrated into the pre-existing platforms with International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), as well as Africa RiskView (ARV) in conjunction with African Risk Capacity (ARC). For ARV, the Cluster combined Earth Observation (EO) data with population vulnerability data to provide an early-warning model that measures food insecurity and estimates response costs, enabling decision-makers to plan and respond quickly and efficiently to drought stresses. In addition, access has been given to products available through the EO4SD Cluster’s own platform that can deliver precipitation, soil moisture, and sea surface temperature data which is being used to test the possibilities for integrating other products into the ARV. Based on this initial engagement and testing, the next steps are to further integrate EO data into the ARV tool, and refine the types of information it is able to provide. Similarly, the Cluster worked with International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) to integrate EO data into its risk screening tool, upgrading their ability to assess the materiality of climate impacts, past and future. Phase two work includes integrating more EO data into their screening tool, with the timeline and resolution of data enabling a more detailed analysis.

The Cluster has also helped AGRHYMET’s ability to have a comprehensive view of climate risk as a function of hazard, exposure and vulnerability by identifying several products and services that can be provided in support of its work. Combining EO data, climate projection derived information and socioeconomic data, AGRHMET can improve its understanding of factors affecting Sahelian food security, desertification control, and water control and management. As a result, the wetlands monitoring service was chosen as a pilot and has been implemented in a region in Mali with a temporal range of 2017 to 2018. This pilot successfully demonstrated that the product could be applied in practice and usefully deliver relevant information. Over the course of the next 12 months the Cluster will further refine the prototype products and identify other projects for which they might be usefully applied. The Cluster will work with AGRHYMET to implement a service that provides full coverage of a pilot area, covering some 3,800 km2 of the Inner Niger Delta wetlands at a resolution of 20 km2. This service will enable monthly monitoring of surface wetness and water bodies integrating observed and projected rainfall data as well as a Water and Wetness Probability Index (WWPI), which will further enable comparing monthly means with observed measurements.

In Greater Monrovia, EO data will be used to analyse the exposure of critical infrastructure to coastal hazards. This includes generating analysis and projections of coastal shoreline change, rates of coastal erosion, and land subsidence. By combining this analysis with other EO data (for example, Modified Normalized Difference Water Index, Digital Terrain Models, and bathymetry data), climate projections, and socio-economic data, the cluster will also develop analysis on the population exposure to coastal flooding. The World Bank are also working with the Cluster in supporting the Monrovia Integrated Development Project (MIDP) by understanding the region’s urban growth, and how, in conjunction with the shoreline analysis, other socioeconomic factors might contribute to climate vulnerability. The next phase is to integrate more EO data to better identify risks and estimate projected coastal erosion, vital for informing resilient interventions by stakeholders.

Critical infrastructures and settlements likely to be flooded due to coastal flooding in West Point and Clara Town (Greater Monrovia, Liberia).

A vital part of phase two is to provide capacity building activities in order to increase the effectiveness of climate and disaster risk management. In order to do this, the Cluster will be helping partners by increasing the capacity of their staff to be able to provide better services and tools to local stakeholders (such as governmental bodies and other organisations with overlapping objectives). Capacity building activities will initially focus on the EO4SD CR platform, providing to staff training on how to access and test EO derived data. By showcasing examples of how EO derived information relates to daily operations, staff will understand how EO data can be used for assessment and awareness activities. These will be delivered via a series of introductory webinars and regional events, before curating dedicated webinars and ‘on demand’ webinars, acting as a helpdesk to the various stakeholders. For example, in the Philippines, specific capacity building options may include how EO services can feed into nature-based flood protection solutions by identifying suitable locations, and using real-time EO data to monitor rivers to strengthen early flood warning systems.


This article was originally published on the EO4SD CR website.
Cover image by USGS on Unsplash.
Introductory webinar identifies entry points for EO-based tools and services across IFAD’s portfolio of projects

Introductory webinar identifies entry points for EO-based tools and services across IFAD’s portfolio of projects

Last week, the European Space Agency’s Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) Climate Resilience Cluster delivered an introductory webinar to the International Fund for Agricultural Development. The purpose of the webinar was to showcase how the EO4SD CR Cluster’s capabilities may be leveraged by the Fund’s staff to enhance the climate resilience of the Fund’s projects at various stages of the project lifecycle.

Demonstrating how EO data have helped to inform decision-making processes in the area of climate change adaptation, the example success stories covered the assessment and monitoring of three climatic hazards: a) Drought, b) Wildfires, and c) Floods.

The webinar furnished over thirty-five participants with:

  • Essential Climate Variables where Earth Observation can significantly contribute to facilitating the Fund’s resilience-building actions, and;
  • An indicative list of potential EO-based services that the EO4SD CR Cluster can provide

Webinar participants highlighted new opportunities to leverage the Cluster’s capabilities, including at the investment preparation and evaluation stages. Moving forward, the Cluster will work closely alongside IFAD to better understand these newly identified needs and develop relevant tools and services that meet these needs.

Listen to the full presentation and view the slidepack here.


Cover photo by Oxfam East Africa on Flickr.
This article was published on the EO4SD CR website.
2019 picks from the Acclimatise article archive – Climate impacts and extreme events

2019 picks from the Acclimatise article archive – Climate impacts and extreme events

By Acclimatise News

Our sixth and final article of top picks from our 2019 article archive features six articles related to climate impacts and extreme events.

Scientists have been saying it for a while – weather events are likely to grow more extreme as the climate changes. In fact, there is evidence that the frequency of some types of extremes have changed – particularly warm temperatures and heavy rainfall events. Extreme weather events have severe impacts on society and ecosystems in our current climate, posing significant disruption to the lives of the poor through the disruption of food availability, displacement, and associated health risks. 

To strengthen resilience and better recover from extreme weather events, it is important that vulnerable areas take the proper steps in adopting adaptation measures and building climate resilience. For over fifteen years, Acclimatise has provided world-leading advisory services, helping corporates, investors and governments integrate climate change risk into their business processes and build resilience.  

This New Climate – Episode 2: Running dry – Dealing with water scarcity

By Acclimatise News

In the second episode of This New Climate, host Will Bugler explores why it is so difficult to manage water resources and presents Water2Invest – a new tool that helps decision makers make smarter choices about managing water supply and demand. Water2Invest, aims to help decision makers to take the right choices when investing in solutions to tackle water scarcity, potentially providing a powerful new tool to help tackle this crisis.

Listen to the podcast here.

Asia’s water supplies threatened by melting glaciers

By Acclimatise News

The ‘third pole’, encompassing the Himalaya-Hindu Kush mountain range and the Tibetan Plateau, is the planet’s largest reservoir of ice and snow after the Arctic and Antarctic. In recent decades, this vital area has faced increasing risk from climate change. For the past 50 years, glaciers in the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau have been shrinking with the Tian mountains having already lost one quarter of their mass.

Read the full article here.

Climate change to cause havoc with Mediterranean water resources says European Commission

By Acclimatise News

The Mediterranean will face mounting challenges to manage its water supplies as climate change drives droughts and floods according to a report by the European Commission. The report, which focusses on the effects of 2˚C of warming, indicates that there is likely to be a divide between central and northern Europe, which can expect more rainfall overall, and the Mediterranean which will suffer drought.

Read the full article here.

From droughts to floods: the cost of climate change for India continues to mount

By Devika Singh

India is one of the most climate vulnerable countries on Earth. A land of such diverse topography and microclimates, it is exposed to a wide spectrum of climate risks. The seemingly endless oscillation from extreme heat and drought to extreme rain and floods, has left the country counting the cost of climate change in lost lives, livelihoods and in dollars.

Read the full article here.

The flooding emergency in Northern England is a policy failure not a freak of nature

By Will Bugler

In 2012, Acclimatise led the work for part of the UK Government’s own Climate Change Risk Assessment and identified flooding as a top risk for each of the sectors analysed in the report. Five years later in 2017, the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment Evidence Report presented evidence that climate change may lead to increased risks from flooding. Despite these repeated warning, government action on flooding has been piecemeal.

Read the full article here.

More than half the world could see ‘record-setting heat’ every year by 2100

By Sophie Turner

Research published in 2019 in the journal Nature Climate Change suggests that more than half of the world could see new temperature records set in every single year by the end of the century if global gas emissions are not reduced. These findings reinforce the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the importance of adapting to and preparing for unprecedented temperatures over the coming decades.

Read the full article here.


Meet the Acclimatise Team ft. Bob Khosa

Meet the Acclimatise Team ft. Bob Khosa

What is your role at Acclimatise? What does a typical workday look life for you?

I am Technical Director of Analytics based in our Oxford office, working with colleagues whose skills range from data and spatial analysis to climate risk and vulnerability assessments.  A typical workday can vary from internal technical, commercial and strategic discussions, to providing advice and guidance to colleagues, to rolling my sleeves up and getting up close and personal with data. A workday can also need quick action to answer client inquiries and scrambling resources to demo our analytical tools. 

What inspired you to work on climate issues?

Having gained my early professional experience in working for environmental consultancies, and then beginning to understand what a changing climate means for society and the economy, it felt a natural next step to be involved in one of the most important topics of our age. Although there is a big element of history repeating itself where decisions have had consequences years and decades later, with enough critical mass behind supporting action, and by us all seeing this as a global / planetary imperative, I do believe we can begin to make good headway. It won’t be an easy fix, nor a quick one, but the more we do today, the more we’ll set a decent foundation for future generations to continue the work.  

What album, book, and luxury item would you take with you on a deserted island?

The original 1977 double album of John Williams’ score for Star Wars, takes me back to queuing up excitedly at the Odean, leaving the cinema completely mind blown, and watching it again and again.  The book would be Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” which made a big impression on me in my school days, learning what mercenary and altruism meant.  The luxury item would have to be a solar powered record player to play my album on.

In your opinion, what would be one of the most effective ways to accelerate progress on climate change adaptation?

Encouraging, supporting and educating the younger generation in driving the need for action and the evidence to support these.  Get the younger generation more interested in science and technology which can help support and implement action. We need to help the younger generation to understand more beyond their own immediate environment, that there are parts of the world that are more vulnerable than others, and that this all requires a much bigger perspective and appreciation of what is ultimately a global issue. 


2019 picks from the Acclimatise article archive – Food & Agriculture

2019 picks from the Acclimatise article archive – Food & Agriculture

Our fifth article of top picks from our 2019 article archive features four articles related to climate impacts on food and agriculture. Additionally, we have featured a fifth article pick that further explains the complex climate-conflict narrative.

The agricultural sector remains highly vulnerable to climate change impacts and has a direct implication on global security. In fact, climate change can disrupt food availability, reduce access to food, and affect production quality due to variations in precipitation patterns and extreme weather events. Further perpetuating the urgency of the matter, this heavy impact on food production comes at a time when there is increasing pressure from population and consumption growth.

To strengthen resilience and better manage climate shocks within the agricultural sector, adaptation remains vital. The agriculture sector must become better-suited to handle the challenges of a changing climate by sustainability increasing agricultural productivity whilst helping food systems adapt and build their resilience. Acclimatise has been and remains heavily involved in identifying the agricultural risks certain locations face, whilst providing a multitude of options in the reduction of climate change vulnerability and the enhancement of adaptive capacity.

India is waking up and smelling the coffee when it comes to climate change

By Devika Singh

Coffee has been fuelling our energy levels, productivity and the global economy for over 500 years now and remains one of the most valuable agricultural commodities traded internationally. However, coffee is a climate-sensitive crop. With falling coffee prices, increasing costs of production, changing climatic patterns, and the low profitability for producers, coffee production is becoming increasingly unprofitable.

Read the full here.

This New Climate – Episode 6: Sharing supply chain risk – Everyone’s a WINnER?

By Acclimatise News

In the sixth episode of This New Climate, host Will Bugler takes a deep dive into the intricate network of suppliers, traders and retailers that make up the food supply network. This episode explores how the risks of climate change are being disproportionately shouldered by smallholder famers, and presents an innovative project called WINnERS, that has helped farmers in Tanzania to share the cost of climate change more evenly across the supply chain.

Listen to the podcast here.

This New Climate – Episode 5: Climate change and the 4th agricultural revolution

By Acclimatise News

In the fifth episode of This New Climate, host Will Bugler explores a suite of innovations promoted by EIT Climate-KIC through their Climate Smart Agriculture Booster that are helping farmers to adapt to climate change while shedding light on how European farmers have suffered under recent drought conditions.

Listen to the podcast here.

Climate change adding to pressure on land threatening global food security finds landmark IPCC report

By Will Bugler

Climate change is undermining human’s ability to provide enough food as pressures on soils mount. At the same time, poor land use practices are increasing global greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change and making adaptation and resilience efforts more difficult. This stark warning comes from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on Climate Change and Land, released in August 2019.

Read the full article here.

Climate Wars: A Review on the Complex Climate-Conflict Narrative

By Erin Owain

Remarkable progress has since been made in the understanding of the climate-conflict nexus due to advancements in data availability, quality and analysis. But despite such developments, a recently published article reviewing the climate-conflict literature concluded that there still exists “a failure to converse on a single narrative”.

Read the full article here.