Category: Features

What motivates natural resource policymakers in Africa to take action on climate change?

What motivates natural resource policymakers in Africa to take action on climate change?

Climate services are vital tools for decision makers addressing climate change in developing countries. Science-based seasonal forecasts and accompanying materials can support climate risk management in agriculture, health, water management, energy, and disaster risk reduction.

But in East Africa, natural resource managers have been slow to use climate information services, partly because they are difficult to understand and may not feel relevant for their local planning purposes. A new study published by the journal Risk Analysis suggests that one way to encourage policymakers in East Africa to use climate services more often is to appeal to the motivational factors that influence their professional actions on climate change.

Researchers at the University of Cape Town found that experience with extreme weather events and social norms — external expectations of how one is supposed to feel, behave, or think in particular situations — may play important roles in motivating professional action on climate change.

“Based on our results, aligning climate services with social norms could offer low-hanging fruit for designing more effective climate services interventions,” says climate scientist Anna Steynor, head of climate services at the Climate System Analysis Group, University of Cape Town. For example, messages such as “80 percent of urban planning professionals are using climate information in their planning” could highlight the use of climate information among policy planners and, therefore, encourage the use of climate services by those who aren’t currently utilizing them.

Between September 2018 and January 2019, the team conducted structured surveys of 474 “policy decision influencers” in five East African countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. The majority of respondents (71 percent) were employed by national and local government ministries. Others worked for trade unions, international development agencies, non-governmental organizations, research organizations, and the private sector.

All of the respondents were involved in some way with natural resource management. “These individuals are an important community because they are an accessible group for introducing adaptation-oriented interventions and are in a position of leadership to drive social adaptations around climate change,” the authors write.

The participants were asked if they had taken general action, as part of their job activities, to prepare for the impacts of climate change. Three items on the survey assessed overall worry about climate change, as risk perceptions have been shown to underlie action on climate change. Other questions were designed to gauge observance of social norms, personal values, psychological closeness to climate change, and experience of extreme weather events. Questions related to psychological closeness pertained to whether participants felt that climate change would have a big impact on them now, personally and on their community.

The results were statistically analyzed using structural equation modeling in order to construct a conceptual explanatory model for professional action. The resulting causal model illustrates the important role that social norms, psychological closeness to climate change, and experience of extreme events play in motivating action. It also elucidates the cascading effects of variables such as age, gender, education and personal values on action.

“Our model provides a framework for prioritizing the different factors that motivate adaptation action,” says Steynor. “We hope it will prompt further research on individual climate change action and encourage behavioral change among policy decision influencers in Africa.”


Read the original story here.

TCFD adoption in the real estate sector

TCFD adoption in the real estate sector

Real estate has led the way as an early adopter of TCFD requirements. In this whitepaper Willis Towers Watson outlines key lessons learnt throughout the sector.

Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) is being increasingly adopted by the real estate sector, with the past two years seeing significant momentum in adherence to the guidance1. Indeed TCFD disclosures made by Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Real Estate Management and Development organisations have increased. Total disclosures made in 2020 more than doubled the total number reported for 2019, and the number of disclosures for 2020 exceeded the total combined disclosures made over the previous three years from 2017 to 20192. This is in spite of the macro-economic decline and uncertainty, which has hit some landlords especially hard.

Total TCFD disclosures made in 2020 were more than double than the total number reported from 2017 to 2019

With disclosure mandatory (on a ‘comply or explain’ basis) from 2022 for premium listed companies3, this whitepaper outlines the key themes and lessons learned from real estate experience in addressing TCFD guidance.

Click here to download the whitepaper.


References

1 https://gresb.com/embracing-tcfd-turning-crisis-into-opportunity/

2 https://www.fsb-tcfd.org/supporters/

3 https://www.fca.org.uk/publications/policy-statements/ps20-17-proposals-enhance-climate-related-disclosures-listed-issuers-and-clarification-existing


Cover photo by Maximillian Conacher on Unsplash
2020 picks from the Acclimatise article archive – Climate impacts and extreme events

2020 picks from the Acclimatise article archive – Climate impacts and extreme events

Our second article of top picks from our 2020 article archive features six articles related to climate impacts and extreme events. Despite COVID-19 dominating the news headlines this year, the climate crisis continued unabated in 2020, with the joint highest global temperatures on record, alarming heat and record wildfires in the Arctic, and a record 29 tropical storms in the Atlantic.

To strengthen resilience and better recover from extreme weather events, it is important that adaptation measures are taken. 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.  Acclimatise has now been acquired by Willis Towers Watson and will combine with their Climate and Resilience Hub (CRH), creating a market-leading centre of climate adaptation expertise.

WMO issue new warning as Earth approaches 1.5°C

By Lydia Messling

In July, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) announced that there was around a 20% chance that one of the next five years will be at least 1.5 degrees warmer than pre-industrial levels. The earth’s average temperature is already over 1 degree warmer than pre-industrial levels, and continues to rise as more greenhouse gas emissions are released into the atmosphere. The WMO forecast is significant as, in November 2016, countries signed the Paris Agreement, which included a commitment to keep warming “to well below 2°C and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C”.

Read the full article here.

Climate impacts outside Europe pose greatest risk to German economy

By Will Bugler

European countries that avoid the most severe direct impacts of climate change themselves will not be spared economic damage from climate change, so suggests a new study. The report from the German Environment Agency (UBA), shows that the effects of climate change on countries outside of Europe, pose a much larger risk to Germany’s economy that climate impacts within Europe, because of international trade networks.

Read the full article here.

5 honest truths about climate change and COVID-19

By Acclimatise News

There have been a proliferation of articles that have drawn connections between the COVID-19 and climate change. Many have been hasty to declare the ramifications of COVID-19 on climate change, as well as what this means for our goals and targets to minimise its impacts. The truth is that nobody really knows how this will unravel. But we can choose, to some extent, how we react.

Read the full article here.

PLACARD report promotes CCA and DRR cooperation through the use of foresight methods

By Georgina Wade

The European research project PLACARD (PLAtform for Climate Adaptation and Risk reDuction) has released a follow up report to their 2018 foresight report, expanding on the importance of collaboration between Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) communities. Through the establishment of a coordination and knowledge exchange platform, PLACARD aims to support multi-stakeholder dialogue and consultation between CCA and DRR research, policy and practice communities, and across scales. Specifically, the latest PLACARD report aims to promote cooperation through the use of foresight methods for policy and decision-makers.

Read the full article here.

Climate linked to largest locust swarms in 25 years threatening East Africa food security

By Will Bugler

Billions of locusts swarming through East Africa are the result of extreme weather swings and could prove catastrophic for a region still reeling from drought and deadly floods, according to experts. While desert locusts are not uncommon in the region, this years’ exceptionally high numbers have been driven by a dangerous mix of extreme weather events. At the end of 2019, the extremely wet conditions and a series of typhoons created favourable conditions for locusts to breed, and enter Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya.

Read the full article here.

New review confirms climate change is increasing the risk of wildfires

By Sophie Turner

The ongoing fires in Australia have caused devastation of epic proportions. And with the end of the fire season still months away, it will be a long time before the full extent of the damage will become known. Most recently, it seems that some Australian journalists and politicians are looking to find someone to blame for the fires, with false information circulating online about arson or green policies being responsible – anything except climate change.

Read the full article here.


2020 Picks from the Acclimatise Article Archive – Financial Services

2020 Picks from the Acclimatise Article Archive – Financial Services

It’s that time of year again! The beginning of a new year marks a great time for dedicating oneself to resolutions, whilst also giving us an opportunity to reflect on the past year and the moments that shaped us. With that spirit of reflection in mind, we sifted through our network’s article archive and selected some of our favourites from the past year. We’ve sorted our favourite articles by topic, to make up a short, three-part series throughout the month of January. To kick things off, we bring you six articles related to climate adaptation for the financial services sector.

While 2020 was a big year in terms of newsworthy moments across the globe, there were also many significant developments within the financial services sector. In September, the United Nation’s Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) released a report on Phase II of its Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Banking Program with Acclimatise. The new report, “Charting a New Climate”, provides financial institutions with a state-of-the-art blueprint for evaluating physical risks and opportunities. A new learning paper was also launched, one which provides insights on the lessons learnt from implementing Green Climate Fund (GCF) Readiness projects in the Caribbean and aims to inform future Readiness efforts in the region or globally.

Despite the grave conditions many economies are facing due to 2020’s COVID-19-induced lockdowns, expectations for corporates and financial institutions on climate risk analysis and disclosure have not slowed. In fact, climate risk and reporting mandates only appear to be increasing. 2021 will see a continued focus on climate risk analysis in the private sector, in the lead up to the 26th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 

Acclimatise has now been acquired by Willis Towers Watson, where we offer joined up services on both physical and transition related-risk analysis.

Launch of “Charting a New Climate: State-of-the-Art Tools and Data for Banks to Assess Credit Risks and Opportunities from Physical Climate Change Impacts

By Acclimatise News

UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) has released a report on physical climate risks and opportunities from Phase II of its Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Banking Program with climate risk advisory and analytics firm, Acclimatise. The report, “Charting a New Climate”, provides a state-of-the-art blueprint to support financial institutions to navigate the changing physical climate risk landscape.

Read the full article here.

Why climate resilience bonds can make a significant contribution to financing climate change adaptation initiatives

By Maya Dhanjal

There is a rising cost associated with economic damages related to climate change with 2019 being the most expensive year to-date and expected to only get worse. Governments who are mainly responsible for providing this funding are strapped in their ability to mobilise and manage emergency funds. Resilience bonds provide a unique opportunity to hybridise principles in debt securities and insurance policies and ultimately divert available funds into climate-resilient projects that will enhance adaptive capacity, particularly for long-lived infrastructure assets that have to face the test of time and a changing climate.

Read the full article here.

GCF readiness efforts in the Caribbean: Learning from Practice

By Acclimatise News

A new learning paper by Acclimatise provides an insight on the lessons learnt from implementing Green Climate Fund (GCF) Readiness projects in the Caribbean and aims to inform future Readiness efforts in the region or globally.

Read the full article here.

Expectation for corporates and financial institutions on climate risk analysis and disclosure continue to evolve and grow 

By Robin Hamaker-Taylor

As 2020 comes to a close, this article summarises major developments expectations for corporates and financial institutions on climate risk analysis and disclosure in the last quarter of this year. 

Read the full article here.

New report: Protecting low-income communities through climate insurance

By Will Bugler

Since 2015, the InsuResilience Investment Fund (IIF) has worked to build the climate resilience of poor and climate-vulnerable households as well as micro, small and medium enterprises, by increasing climate insurance coverage. A new report “Protecting low-income communities through climate insurance”, takes stock of its experience and achievements to date. 

Read the full article here.

Financing and de-risking nature: The next frontier for financial institutions

By Laura Canevari 

Nature and biodiversity have gained the spotlight this year, becoming the next frontier for financial services. Earlier this year, the Task Force on Nature-related Financial Disclosure (TFND) was launched under the leadership of the Global Canopy, UNDP, UNEP and WWF, aiming to redirect financial flows towards nature-based solutions and nature-adding activities.

Read the full article here.


What does Christmas look like from space?

What does Christmas look like from space?

By Will Bugler

Earth observation data has huge potential to enrich our understanding of the world around us. With increasingly advanced satellites continuously capturing high resolution data, it is possible to monitor the planet like never before. By analysing patterns in earth observation data, it is possible to better understand complex socio-ecological relationships. This data has huge potential to increase our understanding of and response to climate change and its impacts, especially in parts of the world where other forms of climate data are scarce. As a member of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and working with clients including ESA Acclimatise continues to explore how earth observation data can be used to inform climate adaptation and risk management.

As an illustration of the power of satellite data to inform us about the environment and human behaviour, NASA released a video that shows what the world looks like during Christmas, Ramadan, and celebrations around the world. Unsurprisingly the researchers found that more intense light is emitted around Christmas and New Year’s as people gather in clusters and turn on their festive decorations. However, some of the more subtle changes revealed other interesting things about human behaviour during festivities…


Photo: source: Jesse Allen / NASA Earth Observatory: Green patches in Texas indicate that Dallas and Houston celebrated hard in 2014.

Expectations for corporates and financial institutions on climate risk analysis and disclosure continue to evolve and grow

Expectations for corporates and financial institutions on climate risk analysis and disclosure continue to evolve and grow

By Robin Hamaker-Taylor


Despite the grave conditions many economies are facing due to 2020’s rolling COVID-19-induced lockdowns, expectations for corporates and financial institutions on climate risk analysis and disclosure have not slowed. In fact, climate risk and reporting mandates only appear to be increasing.

2021 will see a continued focus on climate risk analysis in the private sector, in the lead up to the 26th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). COP 26 will be held here in the UK and is set to have a strong focus on private sector finance. Mark Carney, special finance advisor to the UK Prime Minister has made clear that the objective for the private finance work for COP 26, is to “ensure that every financial decision takes climate change into account”. Finance is also one of five campaigns of the UK COP 26 presidency.

As 2020 comes to a close, this article summarises major developments expectations for corporates and financial institutions on climate risk analysis and disclosure in the last quarter of this year. Other reviews of progress in this space – and there has been a lot – are available here and here.

US Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, and the Securities and Exchange Commission have all indicated in various ways that they are on-board with their counterparts in other countries, who have long since been making progress toward mandating climate risk analysis and disclosure. (e.g., the dozen or more central banks and supervisors around the world who are undertaking climate-related stress testing.). This is no doubt in part due to President-Elect Joe Biden, who has made climate one of four priority areas in his Administration. The US is also set to re-join the Paris Agreement, and the expectation is that the US Federal Reserve will soon join the Network (of Central Banks and Supervisors) on Greening the Financial System (NGFS) (more information is available here and here.)

Importantly, there is ample evidence that President Biden and his Administration may not need congressional approval for any further climate-related laws or regulations, which would not be likely, given the Republican stronghold on the US Senate. There is, however, a growing call by some Republicans to take climate action, which represents an important shift.

There are now 75 central banks covering 60% of global emissions who are members of the NGFS. Members are already taking action, with central banks now requiring climate stress testing, e.g., Bank of England.

To celebrate its three year anniversary in December 2020, the NGFS published two reports on 15th December:

  • A progress report on sustainable and responsible investment practices by central banks; and
  • The findings of a survey on monetary policy operations and climate change.

Both are available here

The guide explains how the ECB expects banks to prudently manage and transparently disclose such risks under current prudential rules. The ECB will now follow up with banks in two concrete steps. In early 2021 it will ask banks to conduct a self-assessment in light of the supervisory expectations outlined in the guide and to draw up action plans on that basis. The ECB will then benchmark the banks’ self-assessments and plans, and challenge them in the supervisory dialogue. In 2022 it will conduct a full supervisory review of banks’ practices and take concrete follow-up measures where needed.

A new alliance between 30 international asset managers with $9tn in assets under management (AUM) has formed, setting net-zero emissions targets. The group of asset managers pledges to support investing aligned with net-zero emissions target by 2050 or sooner. More asset managers are due to join in the coming months. More information is available here.

This new initiative complements the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, an international group of 33 institutional investors delivering on a bold commitment to transition investment portfolios to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. More information is available here.

  • The International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation released a Consultation Paper on global sustainability standards, including climate risk reporting, open for public comment until 31 December 2020. More information is available here.
  • The TCFD is holding a public consultation on decision-useful, forward-looking metrics to be disclosed by financial institutions. The Task Force’s 90-day public consultation solicits input on forward-looking climate-related metrics for the financial sector. The consultation asks questions about the usefulness and challenges of such metrics and what may be necessary to enhance their comparability, transparency, and rigour. The consultation is open for public comment until 27 January 2021. More information is available here.
  • The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced that it is going to be consulting on rules in early 2021, which would introduce TCFD obligations for asset managers, life insurers and pension providers by 2022. These extended rules would build the FCA’s new requirement that by 1 January 2021, premium listed companies will be required to disclose how climate change affects their business, consistent with TCFD, or explain why not.
  • The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) published a consultation on the use of climate change risk scenarios in the Own Risk and Solvency Assessment (ORSA) in the form of a draft supervisory Opinion. EIOPA invites stakeholders to provide their views on the consultation paper by filling in the survey by 5 January 2021. More information is available here.

Many banks, asset managers, asset owners, insurers, and at very least listed companies are already getting out ahead of the curve of emerging climate risk reporting. Acclimatise has now been acquired by WillisTowersWatson, where we offer joined up services on both physical and transition risk-related analysis. Please contact Robin Hamaker-Taylor (r.hamaker-taylor at acclimatise.uk.com).

China and Australia face a climate tipping point

China and Australia face a climate tipping point

By Tim Radford

The grasslands of northern China and Mongolia could be about to lurch into a climate tipping point, an irreversible sequence of heat and drought.

This is a landscape that helped shape world history. The Hun forces that humbled the western Roman Empire 16 centuries ago, and the conquering hordes led by Genghis Khan that commanded most of the Asian continent and threatened Europe eight centuries later, both emerged from tribes of nomad herdsmen from its grasslands. Now it could itself be about to be reconfigured by human-driven climate change.

And that same anthropogenic climate tipping point poses the same threat to great tracts of south-east Australia: water could become more scarce, bush fires could become more frequent, and winds could begin to blow away the parched soils in droughts that could last decades, or even centuries.

Both studies are based on evidence from the past, and both on the story told by preserved annual growth rings. The warning from inner East Asia is based on the testimony of tree stumps and timbers from the last 260 years, say researchers in the journal Science.

“They’re alarming findings, in a long list of alarming findings…if humans continue to warm the planet, this is the future we may all be looking at”

The patterns of tree growth suggest that the recent consecutive summers marked by both heat and drought are new events, and could increase in frequency.

The high plains of central Asia can be very cold in winter, very hot in summer. But soil moisture normally evaporates to cool the air at the surface. In a sustained drought, the air becomes hotter. In recent years, the region’s lakes have been shrinking in extent − and in number.

“The result is more heatwaves, which means more soil water losses, which means more heatwaves − and where this might end, we cannot say,” said Deliang Chen of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, one of the research team.

He and his co-authors warn bluntly that the double impact of sustained heat and prolonged drought “is potentially irreversible beyond a tipping point in the East Asian climate system.”

Mega-drought link

The evidence from Australia is based on a much more distant past, and preserved in stalagmites deep in a cave in New South Wales. Researchers write in the journal Scientific Reports that during a warm interval in the last Ice Age, from 129,000 to 116,000 years ago, global temperatures rose to levels much as they are today, and perhaps slightly warmer.

And the record of lower falls of snow, higher temperatures and ever-scarcer water, preserved in the ancient annual growths of underground calcium carbonate, provided the scientists with a hint of what to expect in a world of global heating driven by ever-increasing use of fossil fuels, and ever-greater destruction of natural ecosystems.

“We found that, in the past, a similar amount of warming has been associated with mega-drought conditions all over south-eastern Australia. These drier conditions prevailed for centuries, sometimes for more than 1000 years,” said Hamish McGowan of the University of Queensland, who led the study.

“They’re alarming findings, in a long list of alarming findings that climate scientists have released over the last few decades. We hope that this new research allows for new insights to our future climate and the risks it may bring, such as drought and associated bushfires. But importantly, if humans continue to warm the planet, this is the future we may all be looking at.” − Climate News Network


This article was originally published on the Climate News Network.
Cover photo by Bolatbek Gabiden on Unsplash
The pain of the past a warning-call for the future

The pain of the past a warning-call for the future

By Erin Owain

On the 54th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster, a rainfall-induced coal tip landslide which claimed the lives of 116 children and 28 adults in the coal mining town in South Wales, the Welsh Government and others are calling for urgent action by the UK Government in light of future increases in winter rainfall due to climate change.

While the predominant focus of action on the impacts of climatic changes across the UK has been geared towards flood risks and flood mitigation, the projected increase in winter rainfall of up to ~25% by 2100 under “worse-case” scenario (RCP8.5) could increase the intensity and frequency of precipitation-induced landslide, especially in old mining towns, where old coal tips are prone to such incidents even in today’s climate. Last year in Wales, a 60,000-tonne landslide in Tylorstown was triggered by heavy rainfall caused by Storm Dennis, and this incident called for urgent action.

Last week, a review led by the Welsh Government, with the co-operation of the Coal Authority, councils and Natural Resources Wales, issued a letter to the UK Chancellor stating that more than half a billion pounds would be needed to ensure the safety of 2,000 old coal tips in Wales over the next 10 years.

In October, the UK government provided £2.5m to help clean up and secure the Tylorstown site. The half a billion pound requested by the Welsh Government to help secure coal tips in South Wales and prevent future rainfall-induced landslide may be but a drop in the ocean compared to the costs of reacting to future landslide events.


Cover image from the PA Archive/Press Association Images
One of Earth’s most biodiverse habitats lies off the Scottish west coast – but climate change could wipe it out

One of Earth’s most biodiverse habitats lies off the Scottish west coast – but climate change could wipe it out

By Heidi Burdett and Cornelia Simon-Nutbrown

Maerl beds stud the ocean floor like underwater brambles. They’re pastel pink and, despite their knobbly appearance, made up of a red seaweed. This algae has a limestone skeleton which gives it a complex three-dimensional structure that is quite unlike the slimy seaweeds you may be more familiar with.

In fact, the closest thing to a maerl bed you’ve probably heard of is a coral reef. Like tropical reefs, the seaweeds in maerl beds interlock as they grow, creating nooks and crannies that serve as the perfect home for a huge range of sealife. Maerl beds are one of the world’s most biodiverse habitats, but unlike coral reefs, few people have heard of them and even fewer study them.

Also known as “rhodolith beds”, maerl beds are found in coastal waters all over the world, from the poles to the equator, but pockets of this habitat form European strongholds off Scotland’s west coast and islands. Sadly, our new research has revealed how climate change threatens to destroy much of this natural heritage before its wonders have been brought to light.

A clump of knobbly, pink, coralline seaweed.
A piece of Scottish maerl that is well over 100 years old. Nick Kamenos, Author provided

Climate change and maerl beds

Maerl grows at a glacial pace – just 0.2 mm per year in Scotland. This makes it difficult for these habitats to respond to rapid changes in water temperature or ocean currents. But these are just the kind of environmental changes that are expected around Scotland over the coming century.

Until recently, scientists had only conducted small-scale experiments on maerl, so we knew very little about how Scotland’s beds would respond to climate change. To overcome this, we developed a computer model that can predict how the multiple changes to Scotland’s climate will affect the distribution of this habitat by 2100.

Astonishingly, even in the best-case scenario, where emissions are rapidly reduced from current levels, we predict that maerl bed distribution will shrink by 38% by the end of the century. If global emissions stick to their current trajectory, we predict a massive 84% decline in maerl bed distribution around Scotland. Without major changes we will likely follow this path, or worse.

Our research tells us that this would be devastating for the flora and fauna that call this habitat home, including commercially important species such as juvenile pollack, hake and scallops.

Scotland’s maerl beds under ‘worst-case’ warming scenario

Two maps comparing maerl bed distribution off the Scottish coast today and in 2100.
Simon-Nutbrown et al. (2020), Author provided

Refuge areas

Only international efforts to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions could improve the situation for Scotland’s maerl beds. But managing the coastal ocean better – with regulation of trawling and pollution – could soften the blow. Since our model found that the rate of habitat decline will be fastest between now and 2050, the need for rapid action is even more urgent.

It’s unrealistic to expect the entire coastal ocean of a country to be placed under strict marine protection. After all, these regions are very valuable to a range of industries and interests, like tourism, shipping and fishing. Where then, should we focus our efforts? Our computer model helps with this too.

We have identified some key areas in which maerl populations are likely to persist in local micro-climates. Here, temperatures are not predicted to rise as much as the surrounding water and changes in waves and currents at the seafloor are expected to be less pronounced. This will allow maerl beds to remain in areas such as Loch Laxford, mainland Orkney and mainland Shetland. Protecting and monitoring these refuge areas could maximise the chances of these habitats surviving for future generations to enjoy.

Seafloor habitat with pink clumps of maerl, rocks and seaweed.
A Scottish maerl bed brimming with life. Nick Kamenos, Author provided

Knowing where a habitat might continue to thrive in the future is crucial for planning how to manage coastal seas better, and being able to map these areas can help reconcile their protection with other activities. The refuge areas we found will now be considered as priority conservation areas by the Scottish Government.

Climate change is expected to affect maerl beds all around the world, so the computer model we’ve created can now find other areas where they may be able to cling on globally. Conservation can be long, gruelling work, so being able to focus marine protection efforts in areas with the highest chance of survival could help safeguard at least some of this habitat for future generations.


This article was originally posted on The Conversation.
Cover photo by Lukaassek/ Shutterstock
Meet the Acclimatise Team ft. Olivia Palin

Meet the Acclimatise Team ft. Olivia Palin

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

I’m a Senior Consultant at Acclimatise. I work with a range of organisations on assessing, managing, and financing climate resilient activities. For the past year I’ve been on secondment to global resources company, BHP. My role there has been to support the update and implementation of their climate adaptation strategy.  A typical workday starts at around 6am, when I’m available for calls and collaboration with the team based across Australia. When that window closes, I’m focussed on writing technical content and briefings, and perhaps liaising with teams in Chile, Canada, and the US.

Prior to BHP (and Covid 19!) I led Acclimatise’s Caribbean and Latin American regional operation based in Barbados. My workdays at that time involved much more regional travel and face to face collaboration across the islands.

What inspired you to work on climate issues?

An enduring feeling awakened during my childhood in SE Asia; a life lived in harmony with nature makes most sense for all the beings on this beautiful blue planet.

What’s your favourite book/series to reread and why?

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson. It’s about a young girl and her grandmother spending a summer together on a tiny island in the Gulf of Finland. I like to revisit the celebration of simplicity, family, and nature.

I also have to say The Lord of the Rings. I love J. R. R. Tolkien’s characters, creativity and songs, as well as the magic and quest at the heart of it all. As I walk around Oxford, where I live, I can’t help thinking about the places he might have wandered and been inspired by while he conjured the story.

What climate action would you like to see happen on a global scale in the coming decade?

Lots of decentralised action to support shifts in perception, reduction in meat and dairy consumption, safe cycling, and protection of green spaces.

What were your favourite subjects in school?

Geography, History, English, and Drama.

Where is your happy place?

In the sea (preferably on a surfboard) or in the mountains. Freights Bay in Barbados is hard to beat!