Category: Knowledge Library

Four Adaptation Opportunities Myanmar Can Take to Build Resilience to Climate Change

Four Adaptation Opportunities Myanmar Can Take to Build Resilience to Climate Change

By Georgina Wade

Myanmar has experienced a number of extreme weather events in recent years, many of which are likely to worsen with climate change. In 2019, the country suffered record pre-monsoon heat. The city of Yangon recorded 42 degrees Celsius in April – a new record for the city. Dozens of people were admitted to hospital with symptoms of heatstroke, and seven individuals died in the Yangon and Bago regions due to the extreme temperatures. In 2008, Cyclonic Storm Nargis caused the worst natural disaster in the recorded history of Myanmar. 84,500 people were killed, and 53,800 went missing. In 2015, severe flooding affected twelve out of Myanmar’s 14 states, resulting in about 103 deaths and displacing up to a million people.The Earth is getting warmer, meaning that extreme weather events are likely to become more severe.

Adaptation efforts are essential for Myanmar to build its resilience to climate change, and achieve its development objectives. As climate impacts become more severe, Myanmar cannot afford inaction. The country does have opportunities to build its resilience to climate change, many of which are low-cost and can result in positive co-benefits. Here are four adaptation opportunities that have the potential to make a significant difference to the lives and livelihoods of Myanmar’s population.  

1.Invest in Nature-based Solutions

Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are defined as “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems, that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits”.[1] NbS have a variety of co-benefits that can range from biodiversity conservation, decreases in water runoff, the creation of new jobs, and poverty reduction. For example, Myanmar’s mangroves can protect shorelines from damaging storms and hurricanes by dissipating the energy from waves and winds and preventing erosion by stabilising sediments with their tangled root systems. Mangroves provide nursery habitats for many wildlife species, including commercial fish and crustaceans, contributing to sustaining the local abundance of fish and shellfish populations. Restoring these natural habitats provides a valuable opportunity for building resilience and fisher livelihoods.

The impact of storm surge on coastal infrastructure and people with and without mangrove forests.Source: World Bank and Punto Aparte

2.Ensure that new infrastructure is climate-resilient

Climate-resilient infrastructure is planned, designed, built, and operated in a way that anticipates, prepares for, and adapts to changing climate conditions. Myanmar needs to upgrade existing infrastructure to reduce vulnerabilities and adapt to a changing climate and reduce emissions through greener transport systems. Furthermore, ensuring the resilience of infrastructure protects them from further climate-related damages. For example, changing the composition of road surfaces can prevent them from deforming in high temperatures.

Woman and child sit outside their house with an unfinished roof. By European Union/ECHO/ Pierre Prakash

3.Strengthen community knowledge management

Knowing how to use the tools for change is just as important as having them. There is an urgent need to foster knowledge and design management techniques into planning. Technological innovation and establishing institutional arrangements can help strengthen Myanmar’s capacity to adapt. Providing vulnerable communities with the knowledge, skills, and resources to mitigate the risks of and recover from climate shocks, and stresses will empower them and strengthen their resilience to climate change impacts. Additionally, educating people about different adaptation practices, such as pursuing sustainable farming methods or using new resilience infrastructure, doesn’t require any physical infrastructure to be built, making for adaptation that is low-cost, high impact and long-lasting.

Community members, Myanmar. By Sukun, 2017

4.Secure finance

Myanmar needs finance and support to adapt to climate change and pursue low-carbon development. Whilst adaptation finance to developing countries is available, it needs to increase significantly, and improvements need to be made to make it more accessible. At this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference, discussions over delivering the $100 billion finance target will take place. With Myanmar on track to experience worsening impacts of climate change, the country will need to develop investable adaptation projects that can attract finance from the principal climate finance mechanisms such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Adaptation Fund (AF) and Global Environment Facility (GEF).

International co-operation is needed

Climate change has already resulted in loss of life and damage to Myanmar’s economy and put its renowned biodiversity and natural resources under increased pressure. The country’s exposure to climate impacts is high, meaning that swift adaptation efforts are necessary to protect the lives and livelihoods of its population. These efforts need to be made across all parts of Myanmar’s economy and society and become fully integrated into its development planning to ensure its development. Myanmar will need support from the international community to realise these goals, particularly in the form of climate finance, technology and capacity transfers from wealthy countries.

This year’s COP26 will be significant. Coming five years after the Paris Agreement came into force, it represents the deadline for countries to renew their carbon reduction pledges, and increase their ambition towards meeting the 1.5˚C temperature target. For countries like Myanmar, co-operation with other climate-vulnerable nations will be important to ensure they are able to hold wealthy to account, putting pressure on them to meet their obligations and limit the damage that will result from climate change.

[1] IUCN. Commission on Ecosystem Management.
Cover image: Mangrove forest in Myanmar. By Dinesh Valke, Flickr.
Towards better assessment of adaptation results

Towards better assessment of adaptation results

By Barry Smith

Multilateral climate funds are missing opportunities for better adaptation monitoring and evaluation for learning (MEL). Global Results Measurement Frameworks (RMFs) set up by climate funds should seek to align with, and nurture national MEL systems. This would benefit both the global climate funds and developing countries. So, how can global funds better embrace country-owned RMFs? 

IIED and partner Garama 3C Ltd are working on a project to help developing countries establish adaptation monitoring mechanisms that improve transparency, increase learning and effectively evaluate progress towards adapting to climate change. We have undertaken a series of ‘light touch’ case studies looking at how countries can align adaptation monitoring and evaluation (M&E) with other frameworks.  

Such an alignment would also help countries to grow their adaption M&E activities into full MEL systems, facilitating improved decision-making in future. 

Benefits of aligning global RMFs with national M&E systems

Global RMFs that are better integrated with national systems can help countries develop and embed national climate change M&E systems, generating country buy-in and integrating climate change MEL across government ministries to accurately report against their specific priorities. 

Despite these benefits, there is limited evidence that M&E systems are linking across levels – the global RMF with the national M&E. This misses out on efficiencies of using existing frameworks. An overemphasis on upward accountability through reporting to funders can neglect downward accountability and adds layers to already complicated M&E requirements. 

Countries are best placed to understand their own adaptation needs, and many countries are already developing diverse adaptation indicators. It’s these indicators that should be used for reporting.

Evidence of strong national M&E systems 

Adaptation M&E in many developing countries is at a nascent stage, but this is not always the case. Several countries have developed well-functioning M&E systems, presenting strong opportunities for alignment.

These systems include frameworks for climate change adaptation, such as Kenya’s monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) framework, established to track the results of mitigation and adaptation actions. The Philippines designed its Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation System (RBMES) to measure results of implementing the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) (2011). 

Some M&E systems integrate climate change indicators – the Cambodia Climate Change Strategic Plan 2014-23 (CCCSP), for instance. The global processes under the UNFCCC are also driving national-level M&E, such as the NAP process in Peru, Kiribati, and Ethiopia. 

There is already evidence that global climate funds can support national systems, as in Mozambique, Samoa and Cambodia where technical assistance provided by the Climate Investment Fund (CIF) under the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) has helped to  embed national M&E systems. 

Some countries, such as Morocco, already have environment information and monitoring frameworks that work well. Linking into these systems can deliver efficiencies by reducing reporting burden and speeding up integration of indicators into existing frameworks.

Two routes for alignment

We have analysed monitoring systems in MexicoMoroccoSouth Africa and the Philippines to assess their potential for linking with global frameworks and informing adaptation MEL.

Drawing from our analysis, we identify two broad routes for linking up:

i) global RMFs can align with strong country systems

ii) global funds can nurture less sophisticated country-level M&E systems. 

Our recommendations are detailed below:

i) Global RMFs can align with strong country systems

To effectively align with national systems, funds can harmonise their metrics with country-led results frameworks:

  • Align with country priorities: the different funds’ RMFs help countries focus their project proposals on results areas based on the funds’ strategic priorities. Aligning proposals with country priorities instead would allow countries to assess adaptation progress against their own country-specific goals.
  • Mandate country focal points with monitoring responsibilities: climate funds can provide a focus on portfolio or country-level reporting through delineating monitoring roles to country focal points to bring together MEL processes at different results levels.
  • Design RMFs with a stronger emphasis on downward accountability and use of results for better decision making: this will help alignment with measuring the long-term benefits of an investment rather than develop project-specific, detached indicator frameworks.

Funds can also use existing country frameworks – provided these frameworks are sufficiently robust:

  • National monitoring systems can inform climate funds’ RMF indicators: country-led indicators can provide more accurate  measures of adaptation success, by providing context-specific metrics to measure process and outcomes success. This is achieved through context-specific indicators to measure processes, outcomes and impacts over the longer-term.
  • Use national repositories and data systems for sustained reporting: using national repositories or data systems may not provide the same resolution of primary or project-specific data, but it can be an effective way to collect sustained data on a regular basis.
ii) Global funds can nurture less sophisticated country-level M&E systems

Where national systems are at an early stage of development, global funds can play a role in fostering MEL systems or integrating their own RMFs into the emerging national systems by providing financial and technical assistance:

  • Technical assistance: international funds can invest in national M&E systems and support the national MEL apparatus to ensure sustainability. As well as drawing on existing indicators from country-led frameworks, funds can support already-operational institutions and processes, as well as existing data sources, avoiding duplication and building on what is in place.
  • Improve countries MEL technical capabilities: a concerted global effort is needed to make sure that countries have the technical capacity they need to identify and implement adaptation actions and track their performance.
  • Integrate adaptation MEL within national budgetary systems or national MEL for development: linking climate results with national budgeting processes, medium-term financing and expenditure frameworks, as well as national development planning processes, helps ensure sustainability. Climate funds can play a key role in funding capacity development for MEL or institutionalising it by investing in long-term capabilities and MEL system development. 

This article was originally published on IIED blogs.
Cover photo from Climate Visuals
South West Indian Ocean region strengthens knowledge sharing on climate change with new online portal

South West Indian Ocean region strengthens knowledge sharing on climate change with new online portal

The Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) has launched a new collaborative platform for sharing and accessing climate change related information and best practice in the South West Indian Ocean region. The Indianoceania Climate Change Portal, an IOC initiative supported by EU-funded ISLANDS project and AFD is intended to be a reference tool to help build the capabilities of island nations in the region to respond to climate change and its impacts.

Climate change poses a set of unique challenges for the island countries in the region. Its coastal and marine ecosystems such as coral reefs and mangroves are extremely vulnerable to climate change, as are the livelihoods of the region’s population that are largely dependent on these ecosystems. The countries in the region have national plans and strategies for reducing vulnerability and enabling adaptation and have been undertaking initiatives to build their resilience. The Indianoceania Climate Change Portal supports these initiatives by providing easy access to data and information and a platform for collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Image: A screenshot of the Indianoceania Climate Change Portal homepage.

The Portal was conceptualised as a result of a study conducted by Acclimatise for the IOC which aimed at strengthening the commission’s capacity to support its member countries achieve an inclusive climate resilient development path. Acclimatise provided technical assistance to the IOC in defining the architecture and content of the portal through comprehensive web specifications based on the needs, preferences and expectations of its users in the region. The process also leveraged inter-regional experience and knowledge exchanges with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). The technical and editorial development of the portal was funded by IOC and AFD and then taken over by the Seychelles Meteorological Authority, which currently hosts the portal and collaborates with IOC for its day to day operation.

The Portal provides information on key climate data, domestic climate policies and strategies, international commitments and best practices for each member country as well as for the region. Importantly, the portal is a collaborative venture and provides the space for various actors in the region to share relevant information, studies and learnings.

The core objectives of the portal are to:

  • Facilitate the hosting, management and dissemination of climate data, information and knowledge and the filling in of data gaps through a participatory platform
  • Raise awareness and enable access to information for member countries and the world by providing information through a user-friendly interface
  • Promote good practices, projects and initiatives undertaken by various stakeholders and actors such as local communities, economic operators and regional bodies which can influence policy making and responses to specific challenges in the region
  • Engage users on climate issues by offering the opportunity to exchange, share and participate concretely in current or future actions

It is hoped that the Indianoceania Climate Change Portal will open up new avenues for collaborative action not just amongst the countries in the South West Indian Ocean region, but also between the region and the rest of the world.

Visit the portal here.

Cover photo / Baobab trees in Morondava in Madagascar. Credit: Larre, CC by 3.0
Outrage and Optimism, Episode 1: The Power of Outrage and Optimism with David Attenborough

Outrage and Optimism, Episode 1: The Power of Outrage and Optimism with David Attenborough

A new podcast called ‘Outrage and Optimism’ is bringing the climate crisis into discussion with weekly episodes discussing transformative action and activism. Hosted by Christiana Figueres, Tom Rivett-Carnac and Paul Dickinson, this new series is looking to remake the world.

Episode one discusses why both outrage and optimism are needed to confront the issues of our time and questions David Attenborough about the school strikes, his career, and how we can use outrage to change the world.

Tune into episodes two and three here.

Cover photo by Alisdare Hickson on Wikimedia Commons.
Climate change main component of systemic collapse risk

Climate change main component of systemic collapse risk

By Elisa Jiménez Alonso

A new study by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) finds that human-induced environmental change is occurring at an unprecedented scale and pace. At the same time, the window of opportunity to avoid catastrophic outcomes and manage the resulting risks is closing fast. According to the researchers, politics and policies are failing to recognise this urgency, eroding the foundations that enable socioeconomic stability and threatening systemic collapse of 2008-proportions if not worse.

The climate is one of six main global systems that are being altered by human activity. The increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is causing ocean acidification, melting ice sheets and sea ice, rising sea levels, and large-scale ecosystem changes. The ‘safe’ CO2-concentration boundary of 350 parts per million (ppm) has long been breached with levels currently fluctuating between roughly 405-410 ppm – the highest since the Pliocene 3-5 million years ago when average temperatures were about 2°-3° C higher and sea levels about 10-20 metres higher. And change is clearly already happening: the 20 warmest years on record since 1850 happened in the last 22 years. Last year’s devastating IPCC report highlighted this even more, emphasising large-scale change needs to happen now by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2010 levels in order to avoid catastrophic warming.

The other systems being altered include ocean acidification, biodiversity, land-use, the nitrogen cycle, and different forms of pollution. Together with climate change, the human impact on these systems has created an explosive new domain of risk. In the report, researchers write “this new risk domain affects virtually all areas of policy and politics, and it is doubtful that societies around the world are adequately prepared to manage this risk.”

The deterioration of natural systems significantly amplifies and interacts with existing socioeconomic issues. The study compares the potential risk of systemic collapse to the subprime mortgage crisis that led to the 2008 financial crisis – the deepest recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s. However, given that in this case we are talking about the very environment we depend on for living as a species, the ramifications of systemic collapse would be much more dramatic.

For example, migration from the Middle East and central and northern Africa is likely to increase as a result of longer droughts and extreme heat. In 2015, when migration caused by the Syrian war reached its highest numbers ever, European politicians found themselves completely overwhelmed by an arguably foreseeable situation of manageable proportions (there are roughly 1 million Syrian refugees in Europe, a continent of close to 750 million, with EU citizens making up roughly 70% of that). Climate change could increase refugee numbers tenfold and displace tens of millions of people. Laurie Laybourn-Langton, lead author of the study, said “There would be repercussions in Europe. Right-wing groups use the fear of migration, as we saw during the EU referendum in Britain. What is that going to look like when far more people are forced from homes due to environmental shocks? What does that mean for political cohesion?”

The report states that current policy efforts to grapple with these problems are not adequately focussed on all the different elements of environmental breakdown and completely miss the mark to provide transformational change to key socioeconomic systems. Societies are not robust enough to deal with the increasingly dire consequences of a breakdown.

The IPPR study is just the beginning of a larger project that, using the UK as a case study, will assess what progress has been made toward responding to environmental breakdown and develop policies that can help create a sustainable, just and prepared world by seeking to understand how political and policy communities can develop the sense of agency needed to overcome environmental breakdown.

Access the report by clicking here.

Cover photo by Josh Zakary/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0): Syrian Refugees in Vienna, 2015.
Engaging the private sector in financing adaptation to climate change: Learning from practice

Engaging the private sector in financing adaptation to climate change: Learning from practice

A new paper released by the Action on Climate Today (ACT) programme, and co-authored by Acclimatise, provides a framework to help development and climate practitioners to better engage with the private sector on climate change adaptation.

The paper, titled “Engaging the private sector in financing adaptation to climate change: Learning from practice”, provides practical advice to encourage private sector organisations and institutions to invest in climate change adaptation measures.

Stimulating flows of private finance is essential for developing countries to meet the cost of climate change adaptation which has been estimated to reach $100 billion per year to 2050.[

Authored by Acclimatise’s Virginie Fayolle and Caroline Fouvet along with Vidya Soundarajan, Vandana Nath, Sunil Acharya, Naman Gupta and Luca Petrarulo of Action on Climate Today, the paper identifies key barriers and challenges for engaging with the private sector, as well as drivers and enablers that could lead to increased investment.

The paper identifies key barriers and challenges for engaging with the private sector, as well as drivers and enablers that could lead to increased investment.

The paper draws on ACT’s experience supporting national and sub-national governments in five South Asian countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.

Adapting to climate change is costly with recent estimates suggesting that $70 – $100 billion per year is needed between 2010 and 2050.[ Countries in South Asia are some of the most vulnerable to climate change and stretched public budgets will not be able to provide the necessary levels of finance on their own. Finance from the private sector is, therefore, essential if countries are to be prepared for climate change and its impacts. A new paper, released by the Action on Climate Today (ACT) programme, aims to help stimulate flows of private finance by providing a framework to help climate and development practitioners, and public sector institutions better engage with the private sector.

As well as stimulating flows of finance, the paper argues that public decision-makers can also benefit from leveraging the ingenuity, skills, and capacity of businesses and the wider financial sector. It also makes clear that the companies in the private sector will themselves benefit from climate cange adaptation, and will not be immune to the physical risks arising from a changing climate.

The paper, titled, “Engaging the private sector in financing adaptation to climate change: Learning from practice”, provides a framework that identifies key enablers that can be used to successfully enage private sector entities on climate change adaptation. These include; awareness raising, enhancing access to technical resources, enhancing access to finance, reforming the regulatory framework; and strengthening governance.

The framework is supported by practical examples and case studies, drawing from ACT’s experience working in partnership with ten national and sub-national governments in South Asia to assist in integrating climate change adaptation into development planning, and delivery.

The paper identifies six key considerations when engaging private sector organisations:

  1. Use real-world examples of climate imapacts that are relevant to the business in question;
  2. Build a shared vision between the public and private sector by identifying overlaps between the government’s priorities and private sector interests;
  3. Develop the capacity and expertise of private sector champions to take action by identifying and supporting industry champions;
  4. Bridge the gap between the demand and supply of private finance by bringing institutional investors together with businesses that provide investment opportunities in the real economy;
  5. Allow adequate time and resources to influence or shape the governance and regulatory framework; and
  6. Bring on board relevant technical expertise by building partnerships and collaborating with other businesses, associations, civil society organisations, government agencies, and development partners.

These strategies can help to break down the barriers preventing businesses from investing in climate change resilience.

ACT is a £23 million UK government-funded regional programme managed by Oxford Policy Management (OPM) in collaboration with many consortium partners. It has been working since 2014 in partnership with national and sub-national governments of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan to assist the integration of climate adaptation into development policies and actions while transforming systems of planning and delivery, including leveraging additional finance.

The full ACT learning paper “Engaging the private sector in financing adaptation to climate change: Learning from practice ” and a learning brief can be accessed by clicking here.

Listen to the 60-second audio abstract:

Action on Climate Today (ACT) is an initiative funded with UK aid from the UK government and managed by Oxford Policy Management (OPM).

Key Contacts

Photo credit: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters
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

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)

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)

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)

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)

Cover photo by NASA: Landsat 8 image of the Laptev Sea.
UK vegetable and fruit supplies at risk

UK vegetable and fruit supplies at risk

By Kieran Cooke

A combination of Brexit − Britain’s move to leave the European Union − and climate change is threatening UK vegetable and fruit supplies for its 66 million people.

Brexit-associated delays at ports could result in widespread shortages of a range of imported vegetables and fruit such as lettuces and tomatoes, particularly if the UK crashes out of Europe at the end of March this year with no deal in place.

Now there’s more bad news on the British food front; a just-released report says climate change and resulting abnormal weather conditions are causing significant decreases in the UK’s own vegetable and fruit harvests.

The study, produced by the Climate Coalition in association with the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds in the UK, says about 60% of food consumed in Britain is domestically produced.

The unusually warm summer in 2018 – the hottest ever in England since records began in 1910, according to the report – led to a drop in the onion harvest of 40% and a decline of between 25% and 30% in the carrot crop.

In 2017 the UK’s apple growers lost 25% of their produce due to unseasonably warm weather followed by an unusually late series of frosts.

“It’s really hard work growing fruit and vegetables, but erratic and extreme weather pushes you over the edge”

Matt Smee, co-founder of The Natural Veg Men

The study says climate change-related extreme and unpredictable weather is putting at risk future supplies of potatoes – a staple of the British diet.

“The UK could lose almost three-quarters of the area of land currently well-suited for potatoes by the 2050s under climate projections”, says the report.

Last year there was a 20% drop in potato yields in England and Wales, it says. More than 80% of potatoes consumed in the UK are home-grown.

“The climate extremes of the past few years – including the snowfall and freezing temperatures of February and March 2018 and one of the driest June months in England and Wales since 1910 – have been devastating for UK fruit and vegetable farmers”, the report says.

Matt Smee, who runs a vegetable growing and delivery service in the north-west of England, told the report’s authors that weather patterns in 2018 made his job near-impossible.

“It’s really hard work growing fruit and vegetables, but erratic and extreme weather pushes you over the edge”, says Smee. “I’d be devastated if I had to deal with this year (2018) again.”

Livelihoods at risk

Lee Abbey, head of horticulture at the UK’s National Farmers’ Union (NFU), says farmers’ livelihoods are being hit.

“Farmers and growers are used to dealing with fluctuations in the weather but if we have two or three extreme years in a row it has the potential to put growers out of business.”

The study says that more than half of all farms in the UK report being affected by severe flooding or storms over the past decade, while water shortages in the increasingly hot summer months are a growing problem.

“With climate scientists now predicting stronger and longer-lasting heatwaves for the UK, growers are faced with increasing risks to their operations and survival”, says the study.

The report’s authors say the priority for everyone – not just the food and farming sector – is to work to reduce carbon emissions.

The study reports some positive developments; the NFU says the aim is for the UK’s farming sector to be net zero in its greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. Increasing numbers of British farmers are investing in renewable energy.

Download the report “Recipe for Disaster“.

Kieran Cooke, a founding editor of Climate News Network, is a former foreign correspondent for the BBC and Financial Times. He now focuses on environmental issues.

This article was originally published on Climate News Network.

Cover photo by Agence Producteurs Locaux Damien Kühn on Unsplash
Online course: Cost benefit analysis for urban climate change adaptation

Online course: Cost benefit analysis for urban climate change adaptation

EIT Climate KIC in partnership with Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Acclimatise, and Pannon Pro Innovations (PPIS) are offering a three-part online course about Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) for climate change adaptation in cities. Acclimatise led the development of the financial aspects of the course.

Urban areas are expected to become even more exposed and vulnerable to climate change impacts such as flooding in the future. Adapting to these impacts is important to protect city dweller, but cost-effective planning of adaptation strategies is very complicated. CBA is a method that can help decision-makers evaluate adaptation projects and strengthen the basis for making sound investment decisions.

Part 1 of the course explains what CBA is and how it applies to urban flooding and climate change adaptation. If you are a local government or city official, this will help you identify whether it can be used for your adaptation project.

In part 2, participants learn a robust, step-by-step approach – along with a CBA Climate Adaptation Tool and case-study – to help them assess the costs and benefits for their own city’s adaptation projects.

Part 3 of the online course demonstrates how to carry out a CBA using the CBA Climate Adaptation Tool. If you are a local government or city official, this will help you discover the financial value of your own adaptation project and use this to secure the investment you need.

7-step CBA process. Source: Climate-KIC

Create your profile on Climate-KIC Education to enroll in this online course and discover many more free learning opportunities.

Face-to-face trainings are under development and will be rolled out in Spring 2019. Stay tuned!

Cover photo by 贝莉儿 NG on Unsplash.

WEF 2019 Global Risk Report once again highlights climate threat

WEF 2019 Global Risk Report once again highlights climate threat

By Elisa Jiménez Alonso

The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) most recent global risk ranking in terms of likelihood and impact is spearheaded by climate-related risks. The environmental risk category has been increasingly becoming more prominent since risks related to it started appearing in the top 5 in 2011.

“Of all risks, it is in relation to the environment that the world is most clearly sleepwalking into catastrophe.”

WEF Global Risk Report 2019

The results of climate inaction are becoming more and more visible and in 2019, environmental and societal risks related to climate change account for three of the top five risks by likelihood and four by impact. While the WEF reports that extreme weather was the risk of greatest concern, they also note that “survey respondents are increasingly worried about environmental policy failure: having fallen in the rankings after Paris, failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation jumped back to number two in terms of impact this year.” This response is also very likely linked to the findings of the IPCC in their report about the impacts of 1.5° vs 2.0° C degrees of global warming.

Referencing the results of the C40 study The Future We Don’t Want, completed together with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, Acclimatise and the Urban Climate Change Research Network, WEF’s report also prominently features the dangers of sea level rise to cities. Today, already 800 million people in more than 570 coastal cities worldwide are vulnerable to 0.5 metres of sea level rise by 2050. Given the rate of urbanisation, the number of people at risk is expected to rise significantly. The importance of coastal adaptation and disaster prevention is strongly emphasised.

In the Future Shocks section, WEF also outlines the potential misuse of weather manipulation tools that could stoke geopolitical tensions. They see the intensification of climate-related impacts as a growing incentive to turn to such technological fixes that could be used to manipulate rainfall or similar. Additionally to any environmental consequences the use of such technology could lead to, WEF raises the concern that it could also be viewed as a hostile act if nations use it unilaterally.

Detailed results: climate change

In terms of likelihood, it is the third consecutive year extreme weather events has remained in first place. And it is also the third consecutive year it places high in terms of impact. Failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation has also remained at top risk since 2015. Additionally, in the top five risks in terms of impact, water crises sits in fourth place and has been in the top five since 2015 – one of its main drivers being climate change.

The evolving risk landscape 2009-2019. WEF 2019.

Extreme weather events and failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation are fairly alone in the top right corner of the risk landscape, indicating their pole position in terms of both likelihood and impact.

Global risk landscape. WEF 2019.

The risk-trends interconnectedness map clearly shows climate change as one of the main risk trends connected not just to environmental but also societal risks such as water and food crises, but also large-scale involuntary migration.

Risk-trends interconnectedness map. WEF 2019.

Download the full report and visit the report reader by clicking here.

Cover photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash