Category: Features

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

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

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.

Episode guests: Iris Bouwers, farmer and Vice-President of the European Council of Young Farmers, Carlos Dionisio Pérez Blanco from University of Salamanca, Jean-Marc Touzard, Research Director at INRA the French public research institute dedicated to agricultural science, and Roberto Zorer from the Edmund Mach Foundation for Research and Innovation.

This New Climate is an Acclimatise production.

The Climate Smart Agriculture Booster is an EIT Climate-KIC supported innovation initiative.

Further information:

Climate Smart Agriculture Booster

European Council of Young Farmers

University of Salamanca

INRA

Edmund Mach Foundation for Research and Innovation

Applying Earth observation data to support robust investment decisions in the face of a changing climate

Applying Earth observation data to support robust investment decisions in the face of a changing climate

By John Firth (Acclimatise), Tanzeed Alam (Earth Matters Consulting), Steven Ramage (GEO), Jed Sundwall (AWS), and Michael J. Brewer (NCEI), Sara Venturini (Acclimatise) and Elisa Jiménez Alonso (Acclimatise)

Editorial note: This is an Acclimatise & Earth Matters Consulting briefing note written in collaboration with Group on Earth Observations (GEO), Amazon Web Services (AWS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

The Eye on Earth (EoE) Symposium 2018 was held from 22-24 October 2018 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The event gathered experts from different disciplines to discuss the use of data in support of sustainable development. The symposium was organized by the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD), a co-founder of the Eye on Earth movement, in partnership with the UAE Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority and the Eye on Earth Alliance.

In a session chaired by Tanzeed Alam of Earth Matters Consulting, panellists Steven Ramage of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Secretariat, Jed Sundwall of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Michael Brewer of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), and John Firth of Acclimatise Group Ltd. discussed the application of Earth Observation (EO) data to support robust investment decisions in the face of a changing climate.

Of cooperation and access

Steven Ramage presented how GEO promotes science and technology to facilitate the use of EO for policy and decision makers around the world. A large part of this work is coordinating with all the GEO member countries in order to increase cooperation, as well as open data access and sharing. Many countries do not have suitable data at their disposal in order to make better decisions about how to address environmental challenges, including climate risks. Thus, the exchange with countries that do have good quality data can facilitate data access and make a significant difference. GEO also works to promote capacity building for the efficient use of EO data in decision making.

While GEO promotes the science and human networks that facilitate data access through cooperation, Amazon Web Services focuses on the technological side of things. Jed Sundwall shared that Amazon is looking to lower the cost of knowledge, explaining that if data is in the cloud, working with it is faster and cheaper. Nowadays, many customers rely heavily on quick data access to develop and offer services. This can drive change all over because quick data access can reach a diverse user base that goes beyond academics.

The importance of the private sector

Michael Brewer spoke about the value of data NOAA’s NCEI provides across all kinds of sectors, from agriculture and logistics to retail and finance. Many businesses, especially in the USA, use NCEI data to improve their bottom line. It helps them plan ahead and react quickly, be it delivery companies choosing their distribution hubs or farmers determining how much fertiliser to use, and even food retailers deciding what foods to stock in their shops – climate data from EO is an invaluable asset.

John Firth underlined this by presenting some of the work Acclimatise has been doing in the financial sector. Using EO data, banks can better understand and disclose on their physical climate risks. In light of our changing climate, this is of extreme importance because the safe margin within which investment decisions have been made in the past is shrinking fast and drastically. Having access to EO data and knowing how to interpret and extract information from it is crucial to understand how climate change is affecting our society.

Key takeaways

  • We can make greater use of the extensive and readily accessible data provided by the EO community together with other socio-economic and environmental data. Many potential users have little awareness about open data resources that exist and those resources are therefore under-utilised.
  • Use of EO data as such, is not the end goal, but more about how socio-economic and other data can be combined and analysed to better inform decisions. The examples shared at the event have shown how building such ‘bridges’ can better inform investment decisions in different sectors, be it utilities, the agricultural sector or financial institutions.
  • It is key to consider the needs of least developed and middle-income countries in relation to EO data for climate risk assessment and management and adaptation. Many developing countries lack skills and resources to access and make full use of EO data and services offered by major providers.
  • We need the power of EO data to enable actions to be taken by business and governments. Successfully transferring open access data and information from the scientific community to decision-makers to inform policy and business decisions is crucial to support climate adaptation that requires bespoke, local-level solutions over multiple timeframes.
  • There is no straightforward solution to the challenges of availability and accessibility of EO data and how this can be overcome to address the climate challenge at the necessary speed. It is important to accelerate the use of EO data (both space-based and in situ data) for timely adaptation action. There is no easy answer, but solutions involve the need to provide more open data, work collaboratively, and support investments in education and long-term co-design and co-production of knowledge, often badged as capacity-building.
  • Participants agreed that a major change is needed, where positive climate action is embedded in everyday habits and behaviours. Communicating our knowledge of climate change in the language of the audience and tailored to their needs is essential. EO can play a major role in improving narratives and changing habits and behaviours by showing the changes taking place in our own communities. The recent IPCC 1.5°C report highlights there is a small window of opportunity to deliver the objectives of the Paris Agreement, by scaling up mitigation actions to transition to low-carbon economies and building resilience to the physical impacts of a changing climate. EO open access data can be used via visualisation and modelling tools to help governments, business (SMEs and corporates), financial services, NGOs and communities to understand and manage their risks, and influence behaviour change.

Download this briefing note as a PDF by clicking here.


Further information

Access the recording of the Eye on Earth Symposium panel discussion by going to https://eye-on-earth.net/session-recordings/

Acclimatise is a specialist advisory and analytics company providing world-class expertise in climate change adaptation and risk management. Acclimatise focusses solely on adaptation, bridging the gap between the latest scientific developments and real-world decision making to support the public and private sector. Contact: John Firth, CEO and co-founder.

Earth Matters Consulting was established in December 2017 and provides advisory services in strategy, policy and communications for climate change, conservation and sustainability to government bodies, businesses and non-profit organisations. Contact: Tanzeed Alam, Managing Director, tanzeed(a)earth-matters.net.

Group on Earth Observations (GEO) coordinates international efforts to build a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). It links existing and planned Earth observation systems and supports the development of new ones in cases of perceived gaps in the supply of environment-related information. Contact: Steven Ramage, Head of External Relations, sramage(a)geosec.org.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a subsidiary of Amazon that provides on-demand cloud computing platforms to individuals, companies and governments, on a paid subscription basis. The technology allows subscribers access to a variety of compute power, database storage, applications, and other IT resources via the Internet. Contact: Jed Sundwall, Global Open Data Lead, jed(a)amazon.de.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) is the world’s largest active archive of environmental data. NCEI hosts and provides access to over 35 petabytes of comprehensive atmospheric, coastal, oceanic, and geophysical digital data, freely available through the Internet. Contact: Michael Brewer, Chief, Customer Engagement, michael.j.brewer(a)noaa.gov.

Cover photo by NASA: Landsat 8 image of the Laptev Sea.
NASA, WMO, NOAA, UK Met Office: 2018 was 4th hottest year on record

NASA, WMO, NOAA, UK Met Office: 2018 was 4th hottest year on record

By Elisa Jiménez Alonso

According to independent analyses from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the UK Met Office and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) 2018 ranks as the fourth warmest year on record globally – a clear sign of long-term climate change associated with a record high in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.

In 2018, global temperatures were about 0.83° C warmer than the 1951-1980 mean according to scientists from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). 2018 sits just behind 2015, 2016, and 2017; collectively, the past five years have been the warmest years on record. Nine of the ten warmest years have occurred since 2005.

This line plot shows yearly temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2018, with respect to the 1951-1980 mean, as recorded by NASA, NOAA, the Japan Meteorological Agency, the Berkeley Earth research group, and the Met Office Hadley Centre (UK). Though there are minor variations from year to year, all five temperature records show peaks and valleys in sync with each other. All show rapid warming in the past few decades, and all show the past decade has been the warmest. Credits: NASA’s Earth Observatory.

“The long-term temperature trend is far more important than the ranking of individual years, and that trend is an upward one,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. “The 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years. The degree of warming during the past four years has been exceptional, both on land and in the ocean.”

This warming trend is not felt equally across the globe. The Arctic, for example experiences the highest rates of warming, which is especially visible through the rapid loss of sea ice. In warmer and drier climates, increasing temperatures can lead to longer fire seasons and extreme events like heatwaves or droughts. Large parts of Europe, New Zealand and parts of the Middle East and Russia reached record high temperatures in 2018. Record-high sea-surface temperatures were also measured in the southern Pacific Ocean and parts of the north and south Atlantic Ocean. “The impacts of long-term global warming are already being felt — in coastal flooding, heat waves, intense precipitation and ecosystem change,” said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt.


Cover image by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information: Land & ocean temperature percentiles Jan-Dec 2018.
This New Climate – Episode 4: The Blue Green Dream

This New Climate – Episode 4: The Blue Green Dream

In the fifth episode of This New Climate, host Will Bugler takes a look at how cities can better prepare for climate change. Cities are concentrated centres of climate risk with large populations, high levels of economic activity and expensive cost of properties. But they are also home to over half the world’s population. This episode explores how the development of nature-based solutions can make cities better able to cope with climate impacts like extreme heat and flooding.

Episode guests: NHS Nurse Claire Herne, Cedo Maksimovic from Imperial College London, Tim Van Hattum from Wageningen University, Teodoro Georgiadis from IBIMET, Frans Van De Ven from Deltares, and Anjali Jaiswal from NRDC India.

This New Climate is an Acclimatise production.

Blue Green Solutions is an EIT Climate-KIC supported innovation initiative.

Downloads: Blue Green Solutions – The Guide

Further information:

This New Climate – Episode 3: OASIS & the democratisation of climate data

This New Climate – Episode 3: OASIS & the democratisation of climate data

In the third episode of This New Climate, host Will Bugler explores how the OASIS group of companies are seeking to transform our ability to understand climate risk through a commitment to open source data. Climate data and information is at the very heart of efforts for insurance companies to price risk and respond to extreme events like hurricanes and droughts. Steve Bowen, Director of the Catastrophe Insight team at insurance giant Aon, explains why data was central to Aon’s response to hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria helping us understand why OASIS’s mission is an important puzzle piece to managing the global climate crisis.

Episode guests: Steve Bowen from Aon, Dickie Whitaker and Tracy Irvine from OASIS.

This New Climate is an Acclimatise production.

OASIS is an EIT Climate-KIC supported innovation initiative.

Further information:

OASIS Hub

OASIS Loss Modelling Framework

OASIS Palm Tree

AON

Climate-KIC

Happy holidays from the Acclimatise team

Happy holidays from the Acclimatise team

We want to wish all our readers, friends, and clients of the company a very happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year! We hope you and your loved ones get some time to relax and enjoy this special time. We’re looking forward to welcoming you again on our network next year and to all the new opportunities it will bring.

See you in 2019!

COP24: The adaptation roundup

COP24: The adaptation roundup

By Elisa Jiménez Alonso

Unsurprisingly, the urgency to settle on the so-called “Paris rulebook”, meant adaptation and climate risks were not front and centre on the agenda of the 24th Conference of Parties (COP24) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). While some progress was made on adaptation finance and how countries report their adaptation efforts, loss and damage fell short once again.

Mixed feelings in coal country

With a little delay, COP24 ended on Saturday evening in Katowice, Poland. The UN climate conference took place in the heart of Poland’s coal mining industry and was not without controversy. This ranged from coal being used as decoration in one of the pavilions to the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait joining forces to water down the impact of the findings of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on the impacts of 1.5 degrees of global warming.

The overall reactions to the outcomes of the conference so far have been mixed. On the one hand, the Paris rulebook was agreed, which is seen as an important step given that the document sets out the implementation of the Paris Agreement. However, after a year of unprecedented climate-related extreme events and very stark warnings from the IPCC, many criticise the lack of climate ambition coming out of this year’s climate talks.

Naoyuki Yamagishi, climate and energy lead for WWF Japan, said about the lack of ambition that he was “slightly disappointed because it’s not clear from that decision that the parties are supposed to increase their ambition by 2020. There are bits and pieces in the entire decision which as a package conveys the message of enhancing ambition by 2020, but the key paragraph doesn’t say that in one package.”

Communicating adaptation progress

Parties agreed on how countries should report their adaptation efforts noting that adaptation is intrinsically linked to sustainable development, including agreements such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The text notes that the purpose of adaptation communication is to

  • Increase the visibility and profile of adaptation and its balance with mitigation;
  • Strengthen adaptation action and support for developing countries;
  • Provide input to the global stocktake; and
  • Enhance learning and understanding of adaptation needs and actions.

While the decision outlines the elements of adaptation communications, which range from climate risks and adaptation plan implementation to gender-responsive adaptation action, it also requests the Adaptation Committee and the IPCC Working Group II (adaptation) to provide supplementary guidance on adaptation communication for the voluntary use by Parties by June 2022.

Increasing adaptation finance

It was confirmed at COP24 that the Adaptation Fund would serve the Paris Agreement. A total $129 million were pledged to the Fund, with the largest share coming from Germany and leading to the highest annual fundraising the Fund has ever seen. Germany was also the first country to announce a concrete amount for the replenishment of the Green Climate Fund, pledging $1.5 billion.

During this year’s conference World Bank also announced that it will significantly boost its adaptation spending for the period 2021-2050. The Bank aims to double its current level of climate spending, committing US$ 200 billion to support countries to take ambitious action on climate change. The new plan significantly increases support for adaptation and resilience, matching adaptation and mitigation spending for the first time.

Acclimatise also organised a side event together with the European Investment Bank and the Global Reporting Initiative on adaptation finance and the recommendations released by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The event discussed how physical climate-related disclosures are part of an iterative process and constitute a learning exercise for corporations and financial institutions. Multilateral development banks have a role to play in ensuring that emerging economies are not left behind as new regulatory and market practices on climate-related disclosures emerge.

Loss and damage – acknowledged but not with the necessary weight

Always a contentious issue at the UN climate conferences, loss and damage was added to the rulebook, though with less weight than vulnerable countries had hoped. The global stocktake rules, which track countries’ progress towards the long-term goals set out in the Paris Agreement, also include loss and damage. The section, which almost ended up being a footnote, now says countries “may take into account, as appropriate…efforts to avert, minimise and address loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change.”

The issue was also picked up in the transparency rules, which describe the frequency, level of detail, and type of information countries need to report back. However, this section is also rather weak in its wording stating countries “may provide, as appropriate, information related to enhancing understanding, action and support, on a cooperative and facilitative basis, to avert, minimize and address loss and damage associated with climate change impacts, taking into account projected changes in climate-related risks, vulnerabilities, adaptive capacities and exposure…”

Where is the real change coming from?

As mentioned before, many argued that the progress in this year’s COP was somewhat lukewarm even though the Paris rulebook was agreed. Real and urgent ambition to mitigate and adapt to climate change gets watered down in an effort to appease delegations from almost 200 countries. And while these negotiations are important in order to solve a global issue and shape policies around the world, change is also likely to come from efforts away from the UNFCCC talks. Be it cities building their resilience around the world or companies starting to follow the TCFD recommendations – more specialised initiatives have great transformative potential.

However, this should not imply that countries at next year’s COP, which will take place in Chile, should not raise their climate ambitions, on the contrary. Climate change can only be managed properly if all levels of society pursue the same goal.


Cover photo by UNFCCC/Flickr (CC BY-SA-NC 2.0): Closing plenary of the Katowice conference
COP24 video: Three need-to-knows from the UN climate talks in Katowice

COP24 video: Three need-to-knows from the UN climate talks in Katowice

By Carbon Brief

The latest round of international climate negotiations concluded late on Saturday evening in Katowice, Poland.

COP24 gathered diplomats from around the world to, among other things, agree on the “rulebook” for the Paris Agreement on climate change, which was first struck in 2015, but will not formally be coming into force until 2020.

Carbon Brief’s video brings you three key details you need to know about the UN talks this year.

The video explains why Poland hosting the talks provided a controversial coal-tinged theme. Meanwhile, Naoyuki Yamagishi, head of climate and energy at WWF Japan, explains why the call for countries to “raise ambition” proved to be such a talking point.


This content was originally published on Carbon Brief and is shared under a Creative Commons license.

Watch out for Acclimatise’s COP24 summary on all things adaptation!

Cover photo by UNFCCC/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0): Conclusion Meeting of COP24 Plenary.
This New Climate – Episode 2: Running dry – dealing with water scarcity

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

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. The world’s population has tripled over the last 100 years, but according to the UN, water demand has been growing at more than twice that rate making water scarcity one of the defining challenges of our time. And climate change will only compound the problem. 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.

Episode guests: Gisela Kaiser from the City of Cape Town, Mark Bierkens from Utrecht University, and Daniel Zimmer from EIT Climate-KIC.

This New Climate is an Acclimatise production.

Water2Invest is an EIT Climate-KIC supported innovation initiative.

Further information:

Water2Invest

City of Cape Town

Utrecht University

Climate-KIC

This New Climate – Episode 1: EIT Climate-KIC & the quest for deep innovation

This New Climate – Episode 1: EIT Climate-KIC & the quest for deep innovation

In the first episode of This New Climate, host Will Bugler introduces EIT Climate-KIC and explores how they are stimulating innovation in the face of a challenge as great as climate change. The episode unpicks how EIT Climate-KIC is working to foster change at the systems level, in an effort to bring about transformative change. Listen to this episode and learn why climate instability demands new ways of thinking about innovation, and how EIT Climate-KIC is trying to support scalable solutions to the most pressing climate challenges.

Episode guests: Tom Mitchell, Daniel Zimmer, Scott Williams and Sean Lockie from EIT Climate-KIC.

This New Climate is an Acclimatise production.


Further information: