Category: Knowledge Library

Report finds smart surfaces save cities billions through increased resilience

Report finds smart surfaces save cities billions through increased resilience

By Georgina Wade

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

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

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

Source: U.S. Green Building Council

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

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

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

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

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

 Download the full report by clicking here.

Cover photo by US Air Force: About 2,100 trays of sedum, a regional high desert plant, cover most of the 21st Space Wing Headquarters building roof. It was selected because of its drought resistance. The green roof, installed in 2007, is designed to reduce energy consumption and rainwater runoff, and extend the life of the roof, ultimately saving taxpayer dollars. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lea Johnson).
How can we measure resilience? Mobile phones – and the right questions – can help

How can we measure resilience? Mobile phones – and the right questions – can help

By Lindsey Jones, Overseas Development Institute

People and communities around the world are struggling to deal with the impacts of climate extremes and disasters. At the same time, international finance for supporting people’s resilience to shocks and stresses is limited.

That means understanding how to effectively build resilience is crucial – but to do that we first need to be able to track and measure resilience – something that is often fiendishly difficult.

For example, we might consider a resilient household to be one that can take precautions after receiving early warning of an imminent flood; bounce back quickly from a recent drought; or adapt to increasingly frequent heatwaves. But deciding what factors contribute and are most important to a household’s resilience is a matter of fierce debate. Dozens (if not hundreds) of different resilience frameworks exist, each with a unique mix of indicators and ideas.

To make matters worse, collecting information on resilience is hard work. Face-to-face household surveys are expensive, time consuming to run and can take months to set up. This is where the Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters (BRACED)’s Rapid Response Research (RRR) is making a difference.

RRR is a survey effort that collects information on resilience and post-disaster recovery, currently focusing on the east of Myanmar (in the township of Hpa-An). The initiative is trying two new methods that have the potential to drastically change the way that we collect resilience information.

The first is the use of mobile phones to gather information from households affected by disasters.

With a rise in mobile phone usage across the developing world, contacting people and collecting data has never been quicker, cheaper or more secure. As part of the RRR effort, 1,300 mobile phones and solar chargers were given to households across eight villages in Hpa-An. A call centre based in Yangon then administers short surveys by phone once a month, with households receiving a small financial reward – in the form of airtime credit – for every survey they complete. If households are busy, they’re simply asked for a preferred time to be called back.

This means that not only can we can collect data at roughly a third of the cost of traditional surveys, but it can also be collected when people are on the move. This is necessary in a place like Myanmar where people are increasingly mobile – often seeking temporary work in cities and abroad. Crucially, it means that we have an easier (and less intrusive) way of contacting people after disasters, when gaining access to communities can be slow and high riskThis could be especially useful in instances where people have relocated after a disaster, which would not be possible through normal survey methods.

So far, these methods have allowed the RRR survey to retain 96 percent of the original survey respondents after four separate rounds of surveying. That’s a number that has far exceeded expectations!

The second innovation trials new ways of judging subjective measures of resilience. Resilience has traditionally been measured via objective means – where resilience ‘experts’ come together and decide on a list of indicators that they think make people resilient. This typically includes things that we can see and observe such as household income, education, access to social safety nets, etc.

While methods like these are no doubt useful, they struggle to capture many of the intangible aspects of resilience, such as social networks. Subjective tools, like the ones the RRR effort is trialling, take a very different approach. They start from the position that people have valuable knowledge about what they think makes them resilient.

What have we found so far? Subjective views of resilience are strongly associated with education, poverty, number of household occupants and so on. While traditional assessments reflect many of these, a number of interesting differences exist with objective assessments of resilience.

For example, female-headed households in Hpa-An think of themselves as better able to deal with disasters compared to households headed by men. This flies in the face of many objective surveys that tend to find male-headed households more resilient.

Could it be that female-headed households are able to leverage better social support networks, or tend to have more diverse sources of livelihood pursuits? Could it instead be that there is a psychological difference in how women and men rate themselves? These are questions that the RRR will delve into in the months ahead.

The RRR effort continues to collect large swathes of data. To make this information accessible to all we’ve launched the Resilience Dashboard. This site allows anyone to look in real time at the relationships and trends for themselves.

We hope to learn from those making use of the site to see what potential this new technology and method has, as well as what new ideas it can spark. Above all, we want RRR to generate enthusiasm about innovating and experimenting with different ways of collecting resilience information to help further our understanding of the drivers of resilience.

Only then will we be able to answer the important question: How do we best prioritise limited resources for supporting resilience?

Lindsey Jones is a researcher working on issues of climate change, adaptation and development for the Overseas Development Institute. 

This article was originally published on, access the original by clicking here. Please credit Zilient, an initiative of The Rockefeller Foundation, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Blue State Digital and OnFrontiers. All rights reserved.

Cover photo by Dinis Bazgutdinov on Unsplash
Building back better: going beyond disaster recovery in the Caribbean

Building back better: going beyond disaster recovery in the Caribbean

By Laura Canevari

Last year the Caribbean experienced one of the most dramatic and devastating hurricane seasons on record. Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm, broke records as one of just five hurricanes to have sustained wind speeds of above 185 mph. Irma spent 37 hours as a category 5 hurricane, the joint longest ever. The impacts were catastrophic in the Leeward islands, and left parts of Florida completely battered. Just a couple of weeks later, Hurricane Maria (also a Category 5) crossed the Windward Islands, leaving further devastation as it ripped through Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Dominica.

It was against this context that the Overseas Development Institute held its event “Building Back Better: A resilient Caribbean after the 2017 hurricanes.” The conference addressed four pillars for resilience building: Ecosystems and planning; Codes and practices; Economies; and Governance. Acclimatise’s John Firth and Laura Canevari were in attendance, providing insights from Acclimatise’s years of experience of resilience building in the region.

Firth reflected on the challenges and complexities of building resilient economies in small Caribbean states, noting the difficulties of attracting private sector investment and the low performance of international climate-related funds in the region. He reminded the audience that complex problems cannot be solved with simple solutions and that vulnerability is not a function of climate change per se, but of underlying drivers that increase the socio-ecological and economic resilience of Caribbean states.

As noted by Dr Twigg, Principal Research Fellow, Risk & Resilience of the ODI, during the open evening event that followed the table discussions, it is hard to think about long-term resilience in a post-disaster context. The next hurricane season is just five months away and countries have serious concerns of what is to come. Countries are far from recovery since the last disaster and are even further from being able to build a more resilient future.

There was much discussion about the approaches for financing and implementing post-disaster resilience building. The debate revolved around the tension between immediate disaster recovery and preparation for the next event, and developing processes to achieve long-term sustainability. As noted by several of the presenters, the damage caused by an extreme event can be sometimes two to three times higher than the annual GDP of the countries affected. This means that funds get diverted from other annual budgets such as education, transport or general development. Current objectives on development are already not being met due to current disasters, so thinking about how to build long term resilience is especially challenging.

However, disasters such as the ones caused by Irma and Maria open windows of opportunity for Caribbean countries. They offer an opportunity to re-think what a sustainable future looks like and what measures are needed to achieve it. In the case of Dominica, where the devastation of the island was almost total, the country has taken a decisive step towards a more resilient pathway. It announced its intention to be the “first climate resilient country in the world”. This is an exceptional pledge for a small country like Dominica and will require tough choices to be made on how to rebuild the communities, what industries to foster in the economy, and whose voices should be heard.

Dominica’s ambition shows that disasters can be used to generate political momentum to increase climate resilience. As this ODI report points out, some of the underlying vulnerabilities of Caribbean countries come from the legacy of their colonial history and stem from weak institutions, structures and economic pillars that accompanied it.

There was a palpable sense of urgency at the event, with the visible impacts of the hurricane season still affecting the lives of millions in the region. As Rt Hon. Patricia Scotland, Secretary General of Commonwealth Secretariat, noted, these disasters were not unexpected, and we can expect them to happen again.

Many things are needed to build a better, stronger Caribbean. Ronal Jackson, Executive Director at CDEMA pointed to the need for harmonisation of efforts, development and enforcement of better standards, incentives for mobilising the private sector and better use of information about risk as some of the elements that are needed to develop an enabling environment. One of the fundamental lessons of the day was the importance of engaging with affected communities in the process, to support and improve future self-recovery efforts. At the same time, immediate needs such as better stocking on warehousing facilities in the region and setting pre-arrangements with air and shipping companies that may help during disaster response are needed.

To access the briefing note, click here.

Cover photo by US Customs Border Protection (public domain): Homes lay in ruin as seen from a U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations, Black Hawk during a flyover of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria September 23, 2017. U.S. Customs and Border Protection photo by Kris Grogan.
Climate services for resilience: New report traces how NGO roles are changing

Climate services for resilience: New report traces how NGO roles are changing

A new report by BRACED looks at how non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are contributing to climate information systems in Ethiopia.

As climate change progresses, its impacts increasingly affect development activities. The ‘resilience agenda’, whereby actors seek to reduce vulnerability and strengthen resilience as a means to mitigate climatic challenges, has gained more and more attention. By focusing more on climate resilience, more diverse relationships have emerged due to the interrelations between climate, health, poverty and wellbeing; this has made the work of development partners, like NGOs, more complex.

One major change has been the increased emphasis on climate information services. Emergency response programmes are supported by forecasting, and early warning data is used to adjust the implementation of safety nets. NGOs all over the world have diversified their skillsets and relationships to strengthen climate information service capacities under the banner of the resilience agenda.

To understand this shift better, BRACED has traced the changes that have occurred in Ethiopia since 2002 to explore how the climate services landscape has evolved and how NGO engagement has led to wider shifts.

The report concludes:

  • NGOs have played, and will continue to play, a critical role in expanding climate information services in Ethiopia. To date, national agencies have expanded their physical capacity and ability to produce climate information. One of the key challenges is communicating information in effective, relevant and appropriate ways to smallholder farmers and pastoralists.
  • There are a wide range of governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations engaging with climate services. Coordination efforts to date are important first steps, but much more activity of this nature is required.
  • Donor and NGO activity have expanded government capacity and the provision of climate services, but these developments remain limited to specific geographic areas and pose long-term risks of sustainability.
  • The new modalities of working and changes to activities of engagement are neither apolitical nor value-neutral. We need to better understand and acknowledge the politically sensitive nature of the operational environments and partnerships as well as the activities and data.
  • Given the influence of the ‘resilience agenda’ on donor and NGO priorities, and the challenges of sustainability of activities within climate information services in Ethiopia, more research is required to understand the extent to which climate services are being integrated into programming and decision-making

Download the full report by clicking here.

Visit the BRACED website.

Cover photo by Hervé Clootens/Pixabay.
Oil and gas sector confidence is soaring… and it’s down to climate change.

Oil and gas sector confidence is soaring… and it’s down to climate change.

By Will Bugler

When all is said and done, tackling climate change will require a sustained transition away from fossil fuels. Coal and oil will have to be left in the ground. So why then, in the face of this inescapable reality, does a recent study suggest that confidence levels amongst senior oil and gas executives have nearly doubled in the last 12 months?

The findings come from a survey from the Norwegian global quality assurance firm DNV GL, who interviewed 800 senior oil and gas executives and found that confidence has risen from 32 percent in 2017 to 63 percent today. This optimism is backed up by company plans to increase capital expenditure, with 66 percent of companies planning to invest in the coming year. More than a third of respondents (36 percent) also expect to increase research and development spending – the highest number in four years.

Embracing transition

The reason for the upsurge in confidence appears to be based on a belief that oil and gas companies are preparing well for the transition to a low carbon economy. Tellingly, for the first time in eight years, industry confidence is rising faster than the global oil price. High fossil fuel prices, it appears, are no longer the sole driver of industry prosperity. This suggests that many executives are confident that their businesses have evolved enough to thrive even when fuel prices are low.

Maria Moræus Hanssen, CEO of Dutch oil and gas firm DEA says that the transition is underway in the sector, “the majors will turn into energy companies – they will broaden their portfolios” she said, “partly because there are strong investment opportunities outside oil and gas, and partly to position themselves for a changing future.”

This sentiment was echoed by many respondents to the DNV GL survey, with several predicting more regulatory and social pressure for firms to make a transition to clean energy. “The greatest looming challenge for oil and gas companies is how they adapt to the energy transition,” says DNV GL’s Bente Pretlove, “there will likely be greater regulatory and social pressure forcing the industry towards decarbonisation. To succeed, the industry will need to make the right investments and harness technology and innovation more than ever.”

Opportunities for investment

While the transition to a low carbon economy is often cast as a risk to the sector, this research suggests that there will be significant opportunities for those firms who take early action to invest in low-carbon energy, and in measures to increase the resilience of their operations to climate change and its impacts. “We see the future for cost-effective, low-carbon power generation as really about renewables plus gas.” Mark Gainsborough, executive vice president of New Energies at Shell, “a challenge going forward will be to invest more consistently, to maintain our purpose over time, and not be too disrupted by short-term changes.”

The fact that oil and gas companies are taking a long-term view with regards to climate change is a promising sign. It is difficult to imagine a scenario where energy security can be maintained in the face of climate impacts that does not involve the cooperation, skill and power of the oil and gas majors. Their willingness to embrace the energy transition and drive systemic change in the sector is significant for sectoral climate resilience.

A copy of the report “Confidence and control: The outlook for the oil and gas industry in 2018″ can be downloaded here.

Cover photo by Berardo62/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0): Oil rigs moored in Cromarty Firth. Invergordon, Scotland, UK.
Final HLEG on Sustainable Finance recommendations: Climate risks can no longer be ignored

Final HLEG on Sustainable Finance recommendations: Climate risks can no longer be ignored

By Robin Hamaker-Taylor

On Wednesday 31 January, the High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Sustainable Finance released its final recommendations to the European Commission. The recommendations will inform the Commission’s strategy on sustainable finance, and its wider efforts to create enabling conditions for the EU to meet its targets under the Paris Agreement and goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Commission understands the financial sector has a key role to play in meeting these targets and goals, as private capital could be mobilised to help reach the €180 billion of additional investments needed per year to meet emissions targets alone.

The recommendations (listed below) centre around a series of themes which together create a multi-dimensional roadmap aiming to accelerate the shift to sustainable finance. These include the imperative of synchronising changes in the financial system with action in the real economy, as well as the need for financial institutions to ask clients and beneficiaries about their sustainability preferences and ethical values. Another theme is the need to connect the supply of capital with place-based priorities via suitable local bank networks, fintech, local authorities, communities, and others to develop investable pipelines of green assets (such as property and infrastructure) in vulnerable regions. A final imperative is extending the time horizons of financial decision making.

The Group’s set of eight key recommendations, include:

  1. Establish and maintain a common sustainability taxonomy at the EU level
  2. Clarify investor duties to better embrace long-term horizon and sustainability preferences
  3. Upgrade disclosure rules to make sustainability risks fully transparent, starting with climate change
  4. Key elements of a retail strategy on sustainable finance: investment advice, ecolabel and socially responsible investment minimum standards
  5. Develop and implement official European sustainability standards and labels, starting with green bonds
  6. Establish ‘Sustainable Infrastructure Europe’
  7. Governance and Leadership
  8. Include sustainability in the supervisory mandate of the European Supervisory Authorities and extend the horizon of risk monitoring

These recommendations will certainly work to do more than mobilise private capital toward sustainable projects, products, and companies. They have the potential to shift how the financial services sector thinks about physical climate change risks, first and foremost by encouraging a longer time horizon than is typically considered. Furthermore, the recommendation on climate risk disclosure (recommendation 3) builds on the voluntary Task Force on Climate Related Disclosure (TCFD) recommendations, highlighting the momentum being gained by analysis and disclosure of climate risks in the finance sector. Unlike the TCFD recommendations, the HLEG recommendations target the financial sector specifically in their disclosure recommendation, stating they recommend “to upgrade Europe’s disclosure rules to make climate change risks and opportunities fully transparent. A transparent financial system is a prerequisite for sustainable finance. An interconnecting framework of effective sustainability disclosure covering financial products, financial assets, financial institutions and financial authorities is thus essential.”

Some actors in the sector are leading the way with their efforts to analyse and disclose their climate risks. Acclimatise are working with a group of 16 international banks along with UNEP FI, to devise a methodology which they themselves, as well as other banks, can use to make these important disclosures against the TCFD recommendations. Our company is also part of the technical secretariat supporting a deeper exploration of the metrics needed to carry out climate risk and opportunity disclosures, as part of a new Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation (GCECA) and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) initiative. The GCECA and the EBRD have convened a set of experts in a series of working groups which aim to progress toward developing physical climate risk metrics, as well as climate resilience opportunity metrics. Both of these efforts will result in publicly available outputs, which can be used by both corporates and financial institutions in their efforts to analyse and disclose climate risks and opportunities.

The HLEG’s new recommendations are just another clear signal for the financial sector that climate change risks can no longer be ignored and have to be considered in order to build a climate resilient economy.

Download the HLEG on Sustainable Finance report by clicking here.

Cover photo by Thijs ter Haar/Flickr (CC BY 2.0).
Global Risk Report 2018 puts climate change front and centre

Global Risk Report 2018 puts climate change front and centre

By Elisa Jiménez Alonso

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released its 2018 Global Risk Report and, once again, climate change has gained a prominent position in the risk ranking. Extreme weather events and natural disasters are the first two top rated risk in terms of likelihood, and second and third in terms of impact. Failure to adapt to and mitigate climate change are in fifth place for likelihood and fourth place for impact. Water crises are the fifth ranked risk in terms of impact. That means that climate-related risks make up the majority of the top rated risks in the report.

Risk evolution table 2018. WEF.

The report links the failure to adapt to and mitigate climate change to other risks such as extreme weather events, large-scale involuntary migration, water crises, food crises, biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse, and failure of regional or global governance. It is thus indirectly linked to profound social instability, as can be seen below. What becomes clear once more is that climate change is a risk multiplier and can have significant ripple effects across a number of global issues.

The Global Risks Interconnections Map 2018

At the annual meeting of the WEF in Davos, prominent speakers took to the stage to emphasise how important it is to consider climate risks, physical and transitional. Anand Mahindra, chairman of the Mahindra Group, a $19 billion conglomerate, told the WEF “climate change is the next century’s biggest financial and business opportunity.” He spoke about how every measures the group has taken to reduce their greenhouse emissions has resulted in a positive return.

Philipp Hildebrand, vice chairman of BlackRock, highlighted the importance of the private sector when he said “People are beginning to realise this problem is too big for governments alone to deal with…. Essentially corporations have to become part of this solution.”

Read the full report on the WEF website:

Cover photo by WEF: Which global risks are most connected to the trend ‘changing climate’? (click for original).
Climate change threatens Scotland’s historic sites

Climate change threatens Scotland’s historic sites

By Elisa Jiménez Alonso

A report released by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) identifies nearly a fifth of the almost 340 sites it oversees as being at very high risk of being badly damaged due to climate change. Another 70% of its sites are said to be at high risk in this first-of-its-kind study.

Climate and geological data from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and British Geological Survey were combined with HES’s own site surveys to create detailed climate risk assessments of each site. These show that historic site, often already fragile and exposed, are at risk from increased flooding, coastal erosion, heavier winter precipitation and drier summers. The report states:

“Water is the most destructive agent of decay. On a large scale, heavy and intense rainfall can directly lead to flooding in a short time frame, which has the potential to cause catastrophic damage to all elements of the historic environment within reach of these potential flood zones.”

The 28 sites with the highest risk, which include Fort George near Inverness and the 800-year-old Incholm Abbey on Incholm Island, are at an “unacceptable level of risk exposure” which would require immediate adaptation measures. Other sites which received a red warning, like Edinburgh Castle which is at very high risk of landslides and groundwater flooding, received an amber rating because they are under constant supervision by HES.

The study is part of ongoing efforts “to develop best practice and integrate climate change actions into [HES’s] operations.” The HES was tasked by The Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme with quantifying heritage assets affected by climate change using GIS in order to create a climate change risk register for their properties.

The report could led to increased pressure on other conservation organisations like the National Trust to step up their research efforts and identify climate risks to their sites in order to protect them appropriately.

Download and read the full report on HES’s website:

Cover photo by Timo Newton-Syms: Incholm island and former Augustine abbey in the Firth of Forth, Scotland (CC BY-SA 2.0)
New guidance document for investors illustrates climate change impacts on infrastructure

New guidance document for investors illustrates climate change impacts on infrastructure


Acclimatise, Climate Finance Advisors (CFA), and Four Twenty Seven have released a new guidance document to increase the climate resilience of large infrastructure investments. The “Lenders’ Guide for Considering Climate Risk in Infrastructure Investments” clearly breaks down the ways in which physical climate risks might affect key financial aspects of prospective infrastructure investments. Ten sub-sectors, including airports, marine ports, gas and oil transport and storage, power transmission and distribution, wind-based power generation, data centres, telecommunications, commercial real estate, healthcare, and sports and entertainment, are analysed and illustrated with topical examples.

“Since Paris, private investors and asset owners have increasingly focused on what investment risks and opportunities are created by climate change.  The Lender’s Guide developed by Acclimatise, Climate Finance Advisors, and Four Twenty Seven provides the first practical approach to assessing the impact of climate change on infrastructure investments for owners, developers, and lenders.  For the first time, the guide provides infrastructure investors and lenders with a concrete approach to climate risks and opportunities,” said Jay Koh, Chair of the Global Adaptation & Resilience Investment (GARI) Working Group.

Cover of the new Lender’s Guide for considering Climate Risk in Infrastructure Investments

This guide provides a framework for questioning how revenues, costs, and assets can be linked to potential project vulnerability arising from climate hazards, such as increasing temperatures or sea-level rise.  A heightened frequency of extreme weather events may lead to more disruptions of infrastructure service delivery resulting in lower revenues and increased expenses. In the United States for example, hurricane damage in 2017 to infrastructure in key economic centres, such as Houston, Texas, exceeded tens of billions of dollars (USD), not to mention losses to revenues and increased operating costs due to recovery efforts.  In addition to the well-known costs from Hurricane Sandy to New York City’s transit infrastructure, that storm also led to 893 flights cancellations and knocked out about 25% of cell towers belonging to all carriers in a coastal area spread over 10 US states, leading to service (and therefore revenue) disruptions for infrastructure assets far beyond New York City. Additionally, incremental changes in climate such as water resource availability or temperatures are also likely to affect the operational and economic performance of infrastructure over time. Reduced precipitation can for instance decrease river flow and negatively impact the operability of hydropower facilities.

The guide also draws attention to the potential opportunities emerging from resilience-oriented investments in infrastructure. Concrete measures, such as replacing copper cables with fibre-optic ones, have proven successful in enhancing the ability of infrastructure to cope with extreme events and increasing revenue for companies who undertook such transformations.

John Firth, CEO of Acclimatise, states “Understanding the risks, as well as any opportunities, that might arise from a changing climate is paramount to infrastructure investments. This guide helps lenders integrate climate risks and opportunities into their strategic planning, hence improving the performance of their investments. Such a process feeds into the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). ”

Stacy Swann, CEO of Climate Finance Advisors notes that “Financial institutions play a pivotal role in scaling up and directing finance to address climate change. As a general matter, these institutions are always weighing risks against potential returns when seeking good, sustainable investments. Yet, climate risks are often overlooked in this process. This guide can help investment and credit officers begin to ask the right questions about how climate change can impact the financial sustainability of their investments, leading to better – more sustainable – investment decision-making.”

Yoon Kim, Director of Advisory Services at Four Twenty Seven adds “Incorporating climate change considerations into infrastructure investments enables investors proactively to identify and address the risks and opportunities presented by climate change. This guide helps investors and lenders unpack the question of how physical climate risks may affect key considerations related to infrastructure investments to inform investment decisions that make sense now and into the future.”

As the international community is moving forward with the implementation of the Paris Agreement, critical issues such as catalysing resilient investments occupy centre stage and raise questions across various fora, such as GARI. This guide emerged from ongoing discussions among participants of GARI during 2017, and is part of a growing global effort to deliver guidance to corporates and financial institutions to implement the TCFD recommendations.

Download “Lenders’ Guide for Considering Climate Risk in Infrastructure Investments” by clicking here.

About Acclimatise

Acclimatise is a UK-based climate change advisory and analytics company that specialises on climate change adaptation and resilience building. Acclimatise is a trusted advisor for many organisations across a wide range of sectors including government, finance, insurance, water, energy, transport, mining, agriculture, defence, food and beverages, and international development. The company’s 24 staff have successfully worked on more than 350 projects in over 70 countries for 180 public, private and non-governmental organisations. Acclimatise is currently involved in complementary projects for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Global Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation and the United Nations Environment Programme – Finance.

For more information, visit, follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, and subscribe to our newsletter.

Acclimatise contact: Elisa Jimenez Alonso

About Climate Finance Advisors

Climate Finance Advisors (CFA) is a consulting and advisory firm based in Washington, DC with extensive experience in development, finance, sustainability, and climate change. CFA’s mission is to facilitate the acceleration of sustainable, climate-smart investments and to encourage the integration of climate considerations into investment decision-making and underlying investments. The CFA team is comprised of bankers and finance professionals with more than 75 years’ collective expertise working at the intersection of finance, climate change, infrastructure and project development. The CFA Team has a deep understanding of the financial implications of climate risk for investments, and understands how risks are integrated into the investment decision making process.

For more information, visit, LinkedIn, Twitter and subscribe to the newsletter.

CFA contact: Stacy A. Swann

About Four Twenty Seven

Four Twenty Seven is an award-winning market intelligence and research firm specialized in the economic risks of climate change. Four Twenty Seven’s data analytics solutions bring climate intelligence to economic and financial decision-makers. Four Twenty Seven provides financial portfolio climate risk assessments, development of climate resilience strategies, quantification of metrics and indices for benchmarking, monitoring and evaluation, and training and stakeholder engagement to financial institutions, Fortune 500 corporations, and governments worldwide. The company was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in Berkeley, California with offices in Washington, DC and Paris, France.

For more information, visit, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to the newsletter.

Four Twenty Seven contact: Yoon Kim 

About GARI

The Global Adaptation & Resilience Investment Working Group (GARI) is a private investor-led initiative that was launched at COP21, the global climate summit in Paris in 2015. GARI is a partner of the UN Secretary General’s A2R Climate Resilience Initiative. GARI has brought together over 150 private and public investors, bankers, leaders and other stakeholders to discuss critical issues at the intersection of climate adaptation and resilience and investment with the objective of helping to assess, mobilize and catalyze action and investment.

For more information on GARI, please see:

Cover photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash
Stay or go? People under climate pressure must be able to choose

Stay or go? People under climate pressure must be able to choose

By Jan Kellet, UNDP

Millions on the move, and many more millions likely to move – and our changing climate is the cause. This is not an unusual narrative, whether seen in news and views, or predictions of future movement from the advocacy community.

But the evidence of direct causality is not so clear, and in a report ODI and UNDP have just released, we try unpick the facts of climate change and human mobility – asking what we do know and what we don’t.  It is time to move beyond the rhetoric.

What we do know

We are a mobile species, of that there is no doubt – 244 million people live outside their birth country, and 740 million are displaced or have moved within their country.  There are 157 million international migrants living in G20 countries, representing 3 percent of the population.

Evidence reveals that most cross-border migrants stay local, in their region. Beyond this we have insights into how movement is quite particular.

For example, Pakistani men are 11 times more likely to migrate during heatweaves than heavy rainfall because excessive heat has a heavier impact on income. And in India, increasingly erratic rains can push families to move, women doing so for up to three months, locally, and men for a year and more, and much further away.

We also know that sudden-onset climate hazards (storms, typhoons, extreme heat, flooding) displace millions – in 2016, 24 million, 32 times more than those displaced by earthquakes and tsunamis, and three times as many of those fleeing conflict.

And we know that between 2008 and 2016, sudden-onset events were responsible for 99 percent of internal displacement: an average of 21 million people annually. The events with the greatest impact are almost always flooding, such as in 2016, when all 10 of the largest disaster displacement events were from floods or storms.

So we know lots of people move, most often within their region as a matter of choice, while millions are forced to move, usually by flooding, and that patterns of movement can be discerned within particular geographies and hazards.

What we don’t quite know

It gets much more difficult from here.

Those hazards that creep up – drought, desertification, ocean acidification, salinisation, glacial retreat and sea-level rise – are much more difficult to track when it comes to their impact on human mobility. This is because with these – even with things you can visibly see over time, such as rising-sea levels – why people move may not actually be because of that sea-level rise, but attributable to many other factors.

These factors – political, social, economic, environmental, cultural – are part and parcel of people’s lives, and just as critical to why they may move or not.

Perhaps the education system is good enough to remain in an area where desertification is affecting your crops. Perhaps you take great stock in the cultural and familial connections of your home town, meaning you simply put up with seasonal flooding. Perhaps promised infrastructure, such as sea walls and other coastal protection, is year on year being postponed.

When people do move, they balance all these factors with the context of where they are going, and where they might go to. They consider issues of employment, healthcare, education, transportation, communication and much more.

The clear message is this: Independent of other context, our changing climate (arguably even for sudden-onset events) does not necessarily mean people will move.

What should we do?

That we can’t attribute human mobility to the changing climate directly does not mean, however, that we should sit our hands. We certainly need better evidence on the complex inter-relationship between climate and movement, but we also need to take action, improved by ever-growing understanding.

Climate change and its interaction with human mobility is fundamentally about development. The flipside of not being able to link climate and movement directly is the realisation that it is precisely because movement is about every aspect of life and living.

That means an analysis of climate and human mobility must be built into development, into long-term planning and day-to-day delivery of services, particularly for the most vulnerable communities, those for whom movement is a critical consideration each and every day.

This is mirrored globally, where we see concepts and architecture around migration and displacement embedded within an international response machinery more than 70 years old and lagging far behind the complex decisions families and communities now make.

The Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees, due to be agreed in 2018, are key ways the system can catch up, ensuring climate change and climate risk are front and centre of frameworks to govern and support people who move, whether by choice or otherwise.

In addition, there are actions that can target climate impacts where it matters most. This includes investments in disaster risk reduction which can combat forced displacement head-on.

The longer-term picture requires investment in climate adaptation. Projects that tackle the slow-burn effects of sea-level rise, desertification, salinisation and more are critical to ensuring people can choose whether to move or stay.

Movement itself can be considered to be adaptation – and perhaps the best kind when it is based on a carefully considered decision by an individual and their family. This is a message we surely all understand.

Please credit Zilient, an initiative of The Rockefeller Foundation, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Blue State Digital and OnFrontiers. All rights reserved. Read the original article on

Cover photo by Foreign & Commonwealth Office (CC BY-ND 2.0): Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan.