Category: Features

Meet the Acclimatise Team ft. James Firth

Meet the Acclimatise Team ft. James Firth

1.What is your role at Acclimatise? What does a typical workday look like for you?

I’ve worked for Acclimatise for nearly 7 years and work predominantly behind the scenes at Acclimatise in the head office at Hexgreave near Nottingham. My role is quite varied from assisting staff with issues they are facing to tracking tender opportunity releases, to assisting John (our CEO) and Richenda (our CTO) when required.

2. How has climate change affected you personally/ the areas where you live/ the things that interest you?

We moved into our first home in 2014, since then we have noticed an increase in the number of flood events, the main street running through the village has flooded at least once a year, due to an increase in prolonged wet weather.

3. What is your favourite way to unwind on the weekends?

I play golf to a good standard (3 Handicap), My wife and I recently joined the National Trust and enjoy using the membership to visit different areas of the UK. We often take my parent-in-law’s dog (Jeeves) with us, although he’s more interested in chasing squirrels than listening to me!

4. Has working for Acclimatise, affected your personal behaviour with regards to climate change action?

I don’t know about personal behaviour, but working at Acclimatise has definitely given me more of an awareness of what is going on around me / how things are being effected as a result of a changing climate.

5. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

We spent our honeymoon in Japan and found the country fascinating. I’d like to learn Japanese, which would allow me to make the most of travelling through the country.

6. If you could be any fictional character, who would you chose and why?

Probably Harry Potter, school would have been a lot more interesting!

Meet the Acclimatise Team ft. Jennifer Steeves

Meet the Acclimatise Team ft. Jennifer Steeves

1)What is your role at Acclimatise? What does a typical ‘workday’ look like for you?

I’m a Senior Advisor based in Acclimatise’s South Asia office in Delhi NCR, India. I fully agree with Richard’s depiction of a ‘typical’ work day at Acclimatise and I can’t really describe one. But overall, days generally involve: coffee, project management activities, technical contribution to advisory projects (research/analysis/review), developing new opportunities to build climate resilience in South Asia, in close coordination with my colleagues Anu and Uma. In terms of areas of focus, my current project pipeline involves: a training course on climate risk management/loss and damage, climate change awareness raising for smallholder farmers in Madagascar, understanding climate risk awareness of the Indian financial sector and mainstreaming climate resilience with a focus on infrastructure in Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan.  

2) If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

British Columbia, the south of France and Goa, India – I’d split my time depending on when the weather’s best.

3) What inspired you to work on climate issues?

It began as a passion for environmental protection – I grew up surrounded by mountains, trees and lakes which I took for granted until I left my home province of BC to go to college. I was pursuing a business degree when I realised that my programme didn’t really ‘care about’ the environment, which to me seemed fundamental. I then decided I wanted to work on environmental issues and several years later did a masters’ in environmental policy. That was the first time I really learned about climate change and its far-reaching impacts not just on the environment but on all things we care about. Understanding the impact on human lives is what made it very real and made me want to work on adaptation.

4) What book are you currently reading?

I’m re-reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

4) What’s your favourite family tradition?

Cross-country skiing on Christmas day

6) Have you made any changes to your lifestyle/energy consumption due to your views on climate change?

I try to do small things like composting, recycling, not using plastic, buying second-hand, taking public transport when I can. The thing I feel most guilty about but can’t stop is international air travel.

Visit Jennifer’s team page here.

Five top tips for having those tricky climate change conversations over the holiday season

Five top tips for having those tricky climate change conversations over the holiday season

By Lydia Messling

The festive season is coming, and so is that awkward conversation. We all have that one person who we can’t talk to about climate change. But let’s not be too hard on them. Climate change is not an easy subject to talk about. There’s lots of social science research into why it’s a concept that can be tricky to come to terms with. In this article, we’ll briefly outline the main reasons why that is, and some quick top tips to get you #talkingclimate and keeping peace on earth and goodwill to all.

  1. Start with just one thing that matters.
  2. Tell stories, not facts.
  3. Frame communications in a way that resonate with people’s values.
  4. Be reasonable in the ‘ask’.
  5. Share hope.

Start with just one thing that matters.

Sometimes, it’s hard to know where to start.  Climate change can feel like such a massive problem related to so many issues. But then there are also a million other issues vying for people’s attention too, such as healthcare, education, and finances. Climate change can simultaneously feel overwhelming, and irrelevant to other, more immediate concerns. In reality, climate change is probably related to those issues in some shape or form – either causing them, exacerbating them, or putting them at risk. And even if you’ve managed to perfectly recite all the possible ways that climate change impacts the global system, the science has probably moved on and discovered something else.

So the first top tip is to: just start on one thing that matters. The joy of having a conversation with someone is that it (hopefully) continues. You don’t need to squeeze everything about climate change in to one long wheezing paragraph. You can even come back to it next week, or at Easter. This also takes the pressure off – you don’t need to enter into an argument about ‘what issue matters more’, just to acknowledge that climate matters.

Tell stories, not facts.

Climate change can be pretty difficult to get your head around. And there’s a reason why that is. Phsychological distancing is a phenomenon that climate change suffers from – it is perceived as being ‘far off’ in many dimensions. Climate change is not something that is easily touched, or seen (or tasted, or smelled, or heard). It’s perceived as only happening in places far away, and with most of the effects taking place in the future. This distance in time, place, and matter might explain why the phrase ‘belief in climate change’ has been so often used, almost like having a faith.

Spewing more scientific facts about the future, and about invisible tonnes of CO2 rarely help in bringing climate change closer in to view. Whilst the evidence about climate change impacts happening now and closer to home is growing, it can still be difficult to understand how it will impact our daily lives. And have a long-lasting impact, not just a one-off disruption.

To overcome this, we need to make climate change relevant, and show how it is something that exists within a context we’re familiar with. Here, stories are invaluable. By talking about climate change’s impacts that are happening now and affecting real people, climate change comes a little closer. But to bring it even closer still, tell stories that include local impacts, put people (not scientific facts) at the centre, and think about the other stories and experiences the person you are talking to has already. Stories chime best when the audience are able to share something in common with it. For example, sensitively talking to flooded communities, and other communities that are near them about how climate change will affect flooding events.  

Frame communications in a way that resonate with people’s values.

For others, climate change is a big political red flag. In fact, in the US, researchers found that people’s views about climate change were a more reliable way of predicting political party affiliation than view on gun control or abortion. It might seem odd to have what is seemingly a scientific issue be so politically polarising, but attacks on science are often rooted in disagreements about what should be done in response to the science. Therefore, to stall a knee-jerk dismissal, try and understand the audience’s values. What makes them tick? What do they care about? What do they fear? What are they working towards achieving? How do they see their role in society?

Learning how people engage with the world and understand their place in it (their world view and identity) we can have a better understanding of how they see climate change. Even better, find out what you share in common with them, and talk about how that shared value might mean you both share a concern for climate change. For example, evangelical Christians in the USA tend to be more resistant to the reality of human-caused climate change. Professor Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist and evangelical Christian, uses both of these ‘credentials’ as a way of engaging evangelical Christians in climate change. A recent study found that the way she does this – ‘framing’ climate change in line with evangelical values, and speaking as a ‘trusted’ messenger – successfully convinces doubtful evangelicals about climate change

‘Framing messages’ is finding narratives that work in harmony with people’s values, rather than jarring with them. For example, some people of faith may find it hard to engage in action on climate change, if it feels like the messaging is saying their god is not powerful enough to stop it, or that it is going against the will of the deity. Research has found that there are five key narratives that work across the five major faiths in encouraging people to engage with climate change that refrain from making judgement about a deity’s power. Narratives that emphasise earth care, climate change as a moral challenge, climate change as disrupting the natural balance, how we live our faith through our actions, and take a personal pledge to act, are more likely to resonate with people of faith.

Be reasonable in the ‘ask’.

When discussing responses to climate change, be aware that some actions are likely to seem more acceptable than others. Some actions might seem like a really unfair ask. For example, for a single parent that already struggles to put food on the table for their children, having someone tell them they’re ruining the planet for not buying (the often more expensive and hard to find) organic, locally produced food, may be misdirected. It’s easy to see here how this particular action might sound judgemental and unsupportive to that single parent.

Being aware of people’s capacity and limitations is important, particularly for talking about first responses to climate change – different people experience different adaptation costs and risks associated with mitigation actions. Telling a crop farmer that they are going to have to relocate in order to adapt to climate change because it’s no longer viable to pay for the sea level defences, and move to another part of the country where it’s not as good to their crop, is a huge ask. It also threatens their identity and livelihood as a crop farmer. What we do and how we do it often forms a big part of our identity. In pushing for certain behavioural changes, we’re not just asking for people to change their ways, but sometimes we’re asking people to change a bit of their identities. That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t challenge some identity-defining actions, but be aware of the impact of such an ask. By understanding more about that person’s situation, their capacity for change, and the things they value (as mentioned above) the following questions can help you identify suitable ‘first-step’ actions that may help pave the way to adopting other changes:

  • Is the action accessible? Who are you excluding or not making feel welcome? Is it really expensive to do? Or far away, or time consuming, or inflexible?
  • Is the action sustainable? Does it require ongoing investment? Is it too burdensome?
  • Is the action visible? Is it easy to see progress? Can individual and collective action be identified?
  • Is it attractive? Do people experience a (co-)benefit from doing it? Is it fun? Do people want to keep doing it? Does it go against their identity?
  • Is the action collaborative? Does it help bring communities together? (This can help with encouragement, making it attractive, and making it sustainable).

Share hope.

And finally, we need to think about how we react to this. We are all emotional beings – some are more ready to admit that than others – and having an emotional reaction to climate change is natural and to be expected. One of the reasons why people shy away from having conversations about climate change is that it can leave you wallowing in a pit of despair. Or a glut of guilt. Or a furnace of frustration.

Climate grief is something that has begun to get more traction in recent years. There may also be anger at injustice, confusion, guilt, horror, gut wrenching empathy, conviction, ambivalence, and many more. It’s important to acknowledge these and give them space. But research has found that trying to engage people with climate change using ‘fear’ narratives does not work. Indeed, ‘hope’ narratives are successful in creating broad support for actions, and are much needed, particularly when communicating with young people. So find some hope, and share it.

By focusing on one thing to start off with, demonstrating how climate change links to other issues that people care about, telling a story in a way that relates to people’s values, and being sensitive to how actions are perceived, and people’s emotional response, we can open up a space to have a conversation about climate change.

Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay
Acclimatise turns 15 today!

Acclimatise turns 15 today!

Acclimatise today celebrates 15 years of building climate change resilience. Founded in 2004, the company has grown from a kitchen-table operation to become the largest pure-play climate change adaptation consultancy in the world.

About this time in 2004, delegates were preparing for the 10th UN climate conference in Buenos Aires, Snoop Dogg was about to Drop it Like It’s Hot, Lance Armstrong was winning his 6th consecutive Tour de France, and everyone was talking about the EU*. Plus ça change.

It would be an understatement to say that a lot has changed since then. Over that time, Acclimatise has successfully delivered over 350 consulting projects, in more than 80 countries, for over 180 clients. The risks posed by climate change and its impacts today look, more significant than ever as emissions have continued to rise each year. However, attitudes towards climate change are also very different, and major breakthroughs have been seen in policy and in the private sector, as evidenced by the Paris Agreement and the work of the Taskforce on Climate Related Financial Disclosures.

Acclimatise Co-Founders John Firth and Dr Richenda Connell founded the company because at the time, and despite the science of climate change being well advanced, corporates and governments were taking relatively little action to prepare for the inevitable consequences of climate change. Their vision was to help create a world that was ready for a new climate reality, one that looked very different from that which had gone before – this vision remains at the heart of Acclimatise’s work to this day.

“Richenda and I started Acclimatise because we knew that climate change would affect every country, every business and every person on Earth and because we saw that the world was not remotely ready to face the challenges that it will bring.” Said Acclimatise CEO John Firth, “the challenge today is now greater than it has ever been, climate change is no longer an issue for the future, its effects are here for all to see. The adaptation imperative for businesses and governments is, therefore, greater than ever. With such a dedicated team working across three continents, I’m confident that Acclimatise will continue to be at the heart of efforts to build climate resilience for years to come.

* As it expanded by accepting 10 new member states.

Circular economy could offer framework for building climate resilience says Ellen MacArthur Foundation report

Circular economy could offer framework for building climate resilience says Ellen MacArthur Foundation report

By Will Bugler

In order to meet the challenge of decarbonising the global economy in the first half of this century, and also build resilience to the effects of climate change that are now inevitable, it is important that action penetrates all parts of the global economy. To do this effectively, approaches are needed that tackle the climate change at the systems level, and deal with greenhouse gas emissions reductions and climate change adaptation simultaneously, recognising their interconnections.

A new report, Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy Tackles Climate Change, released by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, outlines how a circular economy approach to climate change offers a valuable framework that can contribute to reduced carbon emissions from materials while at the same time building a material economy that is more resilient to climate change and its impacts.

“The challenges of decarbonising the global economy and simultaneously building resilience to climate change and its impacts are too often addressed separately. To have a reasonable chance of minimising the damage that climate change will cause, the measures we deploy must systematically integrate mitigation and adaptation measures, recognising their interconnectedness.” Said Will Bugler, Senior Consultant at Acclimatise, and an external reviewer for the resilience chapter of the report. “This paper provides a valuable overview of how the circular economy approach can incorporate and strengthen climate change mitigation and resilience, potentially providing an overarching framework to support their practical implementation.”

The report,written in collaboration with Material Economics, emphasises the importance of the circular economy in cutting emissions. The report points out that moving to renewables can only address 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In order to make progress on the remaining 45% the report says that a circular economy approach should be adopted across five key sectors: cement, plastics, steel, aluminium, and food. 

“Adopting a circular economy framework in these areas can achieve a reduction totalling 9.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2050.” The report states, “this is equivalent to eliminating current emissions from all forms of transport globally.”

A framework for climate resilience

The mechanisms by which a circular economy approach might reduce GHG emissions are relatively established and easily quantifiable. Designing out waste and pollution, reducing the amount of raw materials needed and increasing the amount of utility from each unit of material will lead to a drop in overall GHG emissions as fewer raw materials will need to be extracted and processed (see the image below).

Figure 1: A diagram showing the circular economy as a system.

However, the report also begins to explain how the circular economy approach can also lead to a material economy that is more resilient to the impacts of climate change. The paper points to several areas where this applies, for example, in keeping materials in use, businesses can decouple economic activity from the consumption of raw materials, the extraction and transportation of which is often exposed to climate impacts. Circular economy approaches often require approaches that build greater flexibility into manufacturing processes and encourage diversity in supply chains, this too can reduce risk exposure. Similarly, in the food system, regenerative agriculture improves the health of soil leading to a greater capacity to absorb and retain water, which can increase resilience against both intense rainfall and drought.

The circular economy approach lends itself to climate resilience building as it necessitates a systemic view of the material economy and the interconnections within it. Taking this approach might, therefore, allow for climate resilience assessments to be more easily performed, and areas of concentrated climate risk to be identified.

As the report itself acknowledges, more research is needed to help understand the interlinkages and overlaps between resilience frameworks and the circular economy. There is no guarantee that resilience is strengthened as a necessary bi product of the circular economy approach, but the potential for the circular economy to be a vehicle for addressing both greenhouse gas emissions and climate resilience simultaneously is one that is worthy of a lot more exploration.

Download a copy of the full Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy Tackles Climate Change report here.

Download the executive summary here.

Cover photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash
Adaptation Community Meeting: USAID’s Approach to Developing and Managing Shock Responsive Programming and Adaptive Mechanisms

Adaptation Community Meeting: USAID’s Approach to Developing and Managing Shock Responsive Programming and Adaptive Mechanisms

There is an increasing recognition within USAID and the larger international development community of the need for a shock responsive approach in development activities to help countries and communities recover from shocks and adapt livelihood approaches and management practices to mitigate the impacts of future shocks. These shocks (external short-term deviations from long-term trends) can have substantial negative effects on people’s current state of well-being, level of assets, livelihoods, safety, or their ability to withstand future shocks. Many areas prone to shocks also experience long-term pressures (e.g. degradation of natural resources, urbanization, political instability, or diminishing social capital) that further undermine the stability of a system and increase vulnerability within it. Shock responsiveness is especially relevant in regions and agro-climatic zones subject to recurrent shocks, such as droughts and floods. Even in areas not subject to recurrent climatic shocks, crises associated with a wide array of shocks and stresses are possible, if not probable, within USAID’s usual five-year project implementation timeframe. In turn, this demands a more flexible, shock-responsive approach to development investment and programming.

At the October Adaptation Community Meeting, André Mershon from the Bureau for Food Security presented on USAID’s guidance for shock responsive programming and outlined methods for proactively designing adaptive and shock responsive activities, as well as options to respond to shocks through existing development programs. This included examples from Ethiopia and the Sahel.

This article was originally posted on ClimateLinks.
Cover photo from Climate Visuals.
Working with Local Hydrologists in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to Improve Streamflow Monitoring

Working with Local Hydrologists in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to Improve Streamflow Monitoring

By Andi Thomas

This blog post was posted on NASA Earth Observatory blogs and was reposted under Creative Commons licensing.

Karibu! Welcome! I just returned from a training in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, after an incredible week focused on using satellite data to better understand complex watershed dynamics and manage water resources. Referred to as Dar by locals, Tanzania’s largest city sits on the tropical east coast of Africa and is full of salty sea smells and friendly people. Our SERVIR colleagues from the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) and I spent a full 5 days with Tanzanian water resources managers from the Rufiji Basin, Wami-Ruvu Basin, and other offices focused on…you guessed it…water. 

My colleagues from RCMRD and I shared the labor in teaching on different modules designed to build on one another with each day (Top left: Calvince Wara, Top right: Denis Macharia, Bottom: Andi Thomas, Behind the Camera: Felix Kasiti).

Flowing from the Eastern Arc Mountains, the Rufiji river basin is one of the largest in East Africa and where most of Tanzania’s agriculture grows. The Wami-Ruvu basin is where Tanzania’s largest urban centers (including Dar) and industrial complexes are concentrated, but you will also find agricultural fields. Both basins are vulnerable to environmental factors that affect water quantity and quality. Examples include increased water demand from population growth, pollution from industrial and agricultural runoff, and uncertainty in rainfall patterns as our climate changes. With NASA’s freely-available satellite data, hydrologists can measure streamflow at a given place and time, and estimate discharge using different hydrologic models. 

These predictions support sustainable water management, as other factors change in and around the basin. In Tanzania, the long rains are from March to June while the short rains are from October to December. As our climate changes, Tanzania experiences high and low extremes with intense drought or floods with the changing of seasons. These anomalies threaten agricultural production and livelihoods in the region as populations grow, pollution increases, and natural disasters are more devastating. Monitoring and modeling water resources can help to plan ahead and respond more efficiently. 

Dar es Salaam is a fishing community on the coast. Fishermen park their boats along the shoreline after a long day of fishing while the night fishermen prepare to leave at sunset.

One of the goals of the SERVIR program is to build capacity to use satellite data in the regions we work in by training the trainers with tools, products, and services that aid in environmental management. For this training, we used a common hydrological model– the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model– to estimate streamflow. Over five days, the intensive training covered the entire modeling process for VIC– from data access and preparation to model run, calibration, and interpretation. 

As a result of this workshop, stakeholders are equipped to return to their offices and replicate the process for different sub-basins. Estimating discharge over time with satellite data will save resources and allow hydrologists in the region to better understand long-term basin characteristics for improved management practices.

Here is our “Hollywood Selfie”  of some of the participants and trainers.

One last photo before I leave you. Here we are outside of the hotel, just before our last meal together. I cannot wait to meet again someday!

Cover photo is the work of a U.S. Air Force Airman or employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image or file is in the public domain in the United States.
India builds homes to resist climate-linked floods

India builds homes to resist climate-linked floods

By Climate News Network’s Chennai correspondent

The southern India state of Kerala, having lost almost a million homes in two disastrous floods in 2018 and 2019, is trying to adapt to climate change by building homes for the poor that are flood-resistant.

In two years, one-sixth of the state’s 35 million population was affected by the floods, and 1.4 million of those had to abandon their homes. Many flimsy houses were destroyed and are being rebuilt from scratch.

Realising that floods are going to be an increasingly regular occurrence in the future as climate change continues to make the weather more extreme, the state’s plan is to design and build homes that can withstand the floods. And, according to pioneering architects, they should be built of local materials such as bamboo, lime and mud.

Severe rains

These new houses will be sited, where possible, in places that will avoid inundation, but even if they are flooded in severe rains they are designed to survive the impact of the water.

The Kerala government has announced it has signed a loan agreement with the World Bank for $250 million to enhance resilience against the impacts of natural disasters and climate change.

The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority is spreading awareness of the need to construct flood-resistant houses.

Award-winning architect Gopalan Shankar is one of those building a variety of innovative new homes from traditional local materials that will withstand the floods.

“We have to live amidst natural calamities in this century. We construct homes as low-cost efficient structures to escape from damage during disasters”

He says his aim is to help the fishermen, slum dwellers and the marginalised and tribal people who suffer most from the floods  a mission that has already earned him the nickname “the people’s architect”.

“We have to live amidst natural calamities in this century,” he says. “Our organisation is involved in constructing climate-resistant shelters, residential colonies and individual houses. People can pay through the nose for a house, but we construct homes as low-cost efficient structures to escape from damage during disasters.

“Interlocking mud bricks, pillars made out of treated bamboo, mud and concrete are used. For plastering, we have used coconut shells, treated bamboo and mud tiles. Bamboo is a significant replacement for steel and would match its strength.’’

Shankar started his not-for-profit business, the Habitat Technology Group, in Kerala in 1987 as a one-man band.

It took him six months to get his first commission, but he now works with 400 architects, engineers and social workers, and has 34 regional offices and 35,000 trained workers across India.

In Kerala, he has just completed construction of 250 climate-resilient homes for flood victims.

Prone to floods

“Cost-effective buildings are the need in areas prone to floods,” he says. “Construction starts with good planning and choosing the place where the house would be constructed.

“In flood-prone areas, when there is necessity to reside there, we build the house with locally-available material that would be efficient. Damage from floods would not affect the resident, physically and financially, in a big way.’

The government has a scheme giving people a subsidy to repair their homes after a flood, but encourages them to build in ways that make the homes more able to withstand future impacts.

Sandhini Gopakumar is among many house-owners who, under this scheme, are repairing and rebuilding their homes as climate-resilient structures.

He had not fully recovered from the 2018 floods before the next one came. “Even before we could cope with the damage, flood waters occupied our house next year also,” he says. “We were worried about investing in the house. As of now, we have raised the frontage of our house to avoid floodwaters next year.”

He consulted experts to help make the house strong enough to resist floodwaters in the future, so saving money on future repairs if it happens again. Now, he says, his house would withstand the onslaught even if they suffered floods and disasters every year.

This article was originally posted on the Climate News Network.
Cover photo by sarangib on Pixabay.
UK FCA releases paper suggesting new TCFD aligned disclosure rules among others are on the horizon

UK FCA releases paper suggesting new TCFD aligned disclosure rules among others are on the horizon

By Robin Hamaker-Taylor

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) released a new paper (FS19/6) on 16 October 2019 relating to climate change. The paper, known officially as a Feedback Statement, sets out the next steps it intends to take relating to climate disclosures and integration of climate risk, among others. The paper summarises the responses received from stakeholders on the FCA’s October 2018 Discussion Paper (18/8) on Climate Change and Green Finance.

A total of 73 responses were submitted to Discussion Paper 18/8. In response, a number of priority near-term actions relating to three desired outcomes were identified. These desired outcomes will provide a foundation for the FCA’s future work on climate change and green finance. The following table provides more information on the FCA’s desired outcomes, associated priority actions and a selection of key next steps the FCA will take in the coming months and year.

In addition to actions relating to its three desired outcomes, the FCA will pursue collaborations with Government, other regulators and industry. The FCA has partnered with the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), for example, to establish the Climate Financial Risk Forum (CFRF). The Forum was set up by the PRA and FCA as they recognised the need for capacity building within the finance industry and need to develop best practices in relation to climate risk analysis and disclosure. Working groups have been set up and a number of guidance documents around areas including disclosures, innovation, scenario analysis and risk management are under way. The FCA will continue to contribute to this and other initiatives. The FCA also suggests it intends to align its activities with the UK Government’s commitments as set out in the 2019 Green Finance Strategy (GFS) and will support the GFS as a member of the Government’s cross-regulator taskforce on disclosures.

The FCA has an overarching strategic objective to ensure that relevant markets function well. The release of this new paper suggests the FCA recognises the direct impact of climate change and the changes to financial services markets that climate legislation brings, and sees a role for itself to create an environment where market participants can manage climate risks.

Photo by Dayne Topkin on Unsplash
Meet the Acclimatise Team ft. Uma Pal

Meet the Acclimatise Team ft. Uma Pal

1)What is your role at Acclimatise? What does a typical ‘workday’ look like for you?

I am a climate risk analyst working out of Acclimatise’s South Asia office in Delhi. I bring with me a set of seemingly disparate experiences, ranging from literature to development and climate change. Over time, I have been able to bring these experiences together to understand how one can feed into and enhance another in my work. A typical ‘workday’ at Acclimatise would include quite a bit of critical writing, analysing available literature and lending language to the technical climate change adaptation space.

2) What inspired you to work on climate issues?

I grew up in a semi-urban space teeming with life of all kinds and I have always enjoyed imagining different natural spaces, actual and fictional, described in literature. My interest in environmentalism and climate change specifically deepened when I had a chance to read the book ‘Churning the Earth: The Cost of India’s Growth’ and attend a workshop conducted by one of its authors, Dr. Aseem Shrivastava. It opened up for me a whole new practical way of understanding social injustice and the integral linkages between development, ecosystems and climate change.

3) What skill would you like to master?

I would love to be a writer who’d bring together people from across the world through my words one day.

4) What was your favourite subject in school?

I really enjoyed studying Physics through my school life. I continue to be intrigued about how it forms the basis of something as simple as opening a door, and something as complex as a mission to Mars!

5) What impacts of climate change have you experienced whilst living in India?

I grew up in a coal town. I understood the concept of climate change much later on in life, but coking coal plants and coal dust were very much a part of town life. My father on the other hand grew up in the outskirts of Assam, his home beside the Brahmaputra river which floods and wreaks havoc every other year and is also an integral part of the lives and culture of people who live there. Climate change helped me put observations and experiences such as these into perspective.  

6) If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

That’s a tough thought because I love sleeping! I would like to believe that I would put those hours to good use and learn new things and do more of the things I love doing- reading, gaming and exploring music of all kinds.

You can access Uma’s profile by clicking here