Acclimatise is hiring

Acclimatise is hiring

At Acclimatise we actively encourage our talented staff to innovate and evolve their roles. With great personal support and opportunities to grow across every field of work we’re involved in. Acclimatise is a thriving, friendly and enjoyable place to be.

We believe that we all must do more to prepare for a climate that is very different from that of today. We’re a team of passionate people working to make a difference out of a deep sense of responsibility to help manage the climate crisis. We’ve done some great things already, but there’s so much more to come. Be a part of our story, and help make our company even more amazing.

Acclimatise’s mission is to make the world more resilient to climate change. We do this by making climate change information useful for our clients, helping them to make the very best decisions in the face of uncertainty. Working with corporates, financial institutions and governments around the world, Acclimatise is committed to achieving the greatest impact in driving action on climate change adaptation. Acclimatise has delivered specialist advisory and analytics services to over 180 clients in more than 80 countries worldwide.

We are currently hiring for three roles:

Graduate Spatial Data Scientist

Climate Risk Analyst

Senior Climate Risk Analyst

Follow the link for more information and for application details:

UCCRTF supports a water resources study for New Clark City

UCCRTF supports a water resources study for New Clark City

New Clark City (NCC), an upcoming mixed-use township managed by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), is being developed with the vision of becoming a leading example of an environmentally sustainable, smart, and disaster-resilient city.

To realize this ambition, efficient and sustainable use of water resources is key. To this end, a Water Resources Study was prepared with the main objective of assessing groundwater and surface water availability within and near NCC.

The study, conducted by the Geoscience Foundation Inc. for BCDA, will feed into resource planning that will ensure there is sufficient water to serve NCC, which has an area of approximately 9,450 hectares and is located about 120 kilometers (km) north of Manila.

Sustainability is at the heart of the study. It proposes that NCC makes use of groundwater, surface water, and other water sources like reservoirs, wastewater recycling, and rainwater harvesting, to avoid resource depletion. The use of surface water, in particular, will ensure that deep aquifers are not exhausted, and resources can be sustainably maintained.

The study, supported by the Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund (UCCRTF), is linked to the ADB Transaction Advisory Services of the Office of Public-Private Partnership for NCC, which looks at the structuring and tendering of infrastructure packages. In 2017 to 2018, UCCRTF financed – through the request of BCDA – the review of the NCC master plan, conduct of the River Study and recommendations, and the development of the Resilience Framework.

Climate change is also a major consideration in the study, as climate projections indicate a 10% increase in precipitation levels during rainy season and a 10% decrease during the dry season by 2036. Enough water should be stored in water tanks and reservoirs during the rainy season so that this can be used in the summer or dry season.

Image: Well drilling near NNC.
Credit: Marie Grace Patadlas, ADB Consultant

The two major rivers of NCC

The two major rivers in the NCC are the Cutcut and Bangot Rivers. The Bangot River is situated at the northern edge of NCC and is a tributary of the O’Donnell River. The confluence with the O’Donnell River is located about 1 km north from the Philippine Army Camp. To ensure the sustainable use of the Bangot and Cutcut Rivers, a water resources monitoring program will be established through the installation of depth gauge meters that will track changes in the river flows.

Based on the study, the water quality for the two rivers were found to be satisfactory and well within the prescribed limits even for Class AA water quality guidelines for drinking water supply. However, primary treatment, including disinfection, is required for the water to be distributed for drinking. Once this is developed, these rivers can produce about 32 million liters per day, which is sufficient for a medium-sized city.

Water rights for the two rivers were also applied with the National Water Resources Board on behalf of BCDA and are awaiting deliberations. The results of the study were incorporated into the “NCC 50-year Water Resources Masterplan”, the roadmap for NCC’s resilient water supply system. The plan is seen to be financially viable and is expected to yield economic benefits through increased water usage efficiency and greater equity in access to water, without comprising environmental sustainability and ensuring water availability for future usage.

Presenting the study to stakeholders

​On water reuse, the study indicated that this will only be suitable for non-potable uses such as for agriculture, aquifer recharge, aquaculture, firefighting, flushing of toilets, industrial cooling, parks and golf course watering, formation of wetlands for wildlife habitats, and recreational impoundments. As an alternative water source, the O’Donnell River is also being considered in case the use of Bangot River is not feasible. This will form part of the water development plan for NCC’s main water source in future phases.

As for wastewater management, the study recognizes that constructed wetlands and ponds through a series of bio-retention and bio-remediation systems will help reduce and control the amount of pollutants – such as fertilizers, pesticides, and sediment – that enter the waterways from open space run-off. A centralized sewerage treatment plant is being planned for NCC, and it will service the main development areas covering the National Government Administrative Center and the area handled by real estate firm Filinvest Land. However, given that the construction of the plant may take up to three years, the use of modular treatment plants, which can be immediately installed and can easily be expanded, will be considered as an interim solution.

​Further review, vetting, and discussions with BCDA need to be made to align the recommendations with the NCC master plan given that there are ongoing developments in the area. Specifically, BCDA, locators, and water concessionaire need to discuss and establish projections that will shape the longer-term water policies and water infrastructure projects in the NCC.

This article was originally posted on the ADB’s Livable Cities blog site.
Cover photo by patrickroque01 / WikimediaCommons / CC by 4.0
Ten ways to support climate change adaptation planning and decision-making

Ten ways to support climate change adaptation planning and decision-making

This brief provides targeted recommendations for co-designing actionable and user-focused climate services. By this, the authors mean processes in which climate researchers and consultants work collaboratively with planners and other practitioners to develop climate information that supports adaptation planning and decision-making. The authors focus specifically on various means to enhance this collaboration.

Thus, this brief addresses subject matters -vocabulary choice, relationship building and political agendas, for example- that may seem far afield from the natural focus of people in research-driven, science careers. This brief aims to give people with climate expertise needed tools to help generate and target science that can inform more effective policies, make efficient use of limited funds, and reduce the vulnerability of people and places to the impacts of climate change.

In brief, the key recommendations provided, are (p. 2-5):

  1. Help practitioners articulate their needs, and challenge predefined solutions;
  2. Thoroughly assess the planning and decision-making contexts;
  3. Discuss output and time horizons early in the process;
  4. Involve facilitators in the co-design process;
  5. Adjust communication to the target audience;
  6. Combine different formats, including visualizations, to present the information;
  7. Align climate services with existing planning tools and processes;
  8. Discuss resolution of data;
  9. Address uncertainty;
  10. Ensure transparency and traceability.

Download the full brief here.

This article was originally posted on PreventionWeb.
Cover photo by Ashden on Climate Visuals.
Sea level rise: three visions of a future summer holiday at the coast

Sea level rise: three visions of a future summer holiday at the coast

By Nick Davies and David Jarratt

The COVID-19 pandemic will ensure summer 2020 is a washout for most. With international travel restrictions limiting holidays abroad, many people in the UK have opted to stay somewhere closer to home. As a result, there have been remarkable increases in the number of visitors to beaches across the UK. Thousands flocked to a beach in Bournemouth on a single day in June, causing the local council to declare a major incident.

But far greater disruptions to our summer holidays lie ahead. About half of all tourism takes place in coastal areas, but with global warming set to raise sea levels by somewhere around two metres over the next 80 years, how will our relationship with the coast change?

Will we commemorate the old coastal boundaries with forlorn sojourns above the sunken land? Will we recreate the beach in the heart of our cities? Or will we preserve the drowned coast as a nature reserve – a quiet memorial to what was lost?

We imagined three different versions of what a beach holiday might look like as climate change eclipses the coastline we once knew.

1. Floating in place

Sea level rise may seem a distant threat, but resorts and other tourism operators are already considering how they can stay near the coast and operate above the water. On the Caribbean island of Barbuda, resort huts have been built on stilts.

The aim is to keep tourism viable in the same place it has thrived for decades, while minimising damage from higher water levels.

Seasteading is one answer to this conundrum. The idea to build settlements on platforms at sea originated with the hope of creating more sustainable and equal societies away from land. The technology is still being developed, while researchers consider the engineering, legal and business implications.

New research suggests that coastal flooding could threaten up to 20% of global GDP by 2100, with much of it tied to the tourism industry. Tourism could instead become a new source of income for seasteads. Given the dwindling coastal space for tourists, creating new spaces out at sea might be a way to meet the problem of sea level rise head on.

A cabin raised several feet above the sea water on stilts.
Heavy engineering could keep some resorts afloat. Serge Skiba/Shutterstock

2. Bringing the beach to you

The urban beach is a concept that’s growing in popularity worldwide. It involves creating sandy areas in towns and cities by importing sand onto concrete. There may also be artificial pools and fairground rides. Each one has different features. There are family-friendly options, and those catered to adults, with cocktail bars or restaurants.

The opportunities for hedonism are still there, but instead of travelling miles to enjoy it, it’s right on your doorstep. Less travel means less carbon emissions, and urban beaches might help ease pressure on the real coast.

Perhaps the most famous urban beach is the Paris Plage. Since its opening in 2002, Parisians and summer tourists have been able to lounge under palm trees on the banks of the river Seine. It cost over two million Euros to create and has since been extended due to its popularity.

The Paris Plage – a sandy beach with potted palms overlooking the River Seine.
‘Sous les pavés, la plage!’ Efired/Shutterstock

The Nottingham Riviera is an attempt to recreate this success in the UK. The landlocked beach in the middle of the city has sand and water, amusement arcades and beach bars.

The urban beach is becoming an industry in itself, with companies specialising in fake beaches that can be built as seasonal fixtures or permanent areas. If reaching the coast becomes too arduous in the future, these examples could provide everything needed for a seaside experience without the sea.

3. Rewilding the coast

Perhaps the most pragmatic solution is to accept nature taking its course and relinquish control as rising seas reshape the terrain. Allowing the new coastline to rewild could create millions of acres of new wetlands – habitats that are very good at storing carbon and that have deteriorated by about 50% since 1900.

Examples from Hong Kong, Spain, and Wallasea Island in the UK demonstrate how turning heavily managed coastal areas into new habitats can create new opportunities for wildlife and people.

So does the Mexican island, Mayakoba. Its unique mangrove forests were damaged and polluted by the building of numerous hotel chains on the seafront, but today, only 10% of these hotels rem ain on the coast.

The local community abandoned their high-density model of tourism and protected the dunes and mangroves, which were being eroded by excessive development. New canal networks were dug to create an estuary, attracting birds and amphibians. This new wetland was designated as a nature reserve and visitors arrived to enjoy a new kind of tourist experience.

A floating jetty surrounding by mangrove swamp.
Rewilding the coast would provide new wetland habitat for threatened species. Lara Danielle/FlickrCC BY

Visitor capacity and beach activities were reduced to ensure sensitive coastal environments could remain protected. But allowing the sea back into reclaimed coastal territory allowed a more sustainable model of tourism to flourish – one which could be replicated elsewhere as sea levels rise.

But before that can happen, our views of the coast must change. Humans once saw land and sea as a continuation of one another, rather than two discrete entities. Reviving this concept could allow us to navigate a future in which once certain borders have blurred beyond recognition.

This article was originally posted on The Conversation.
Cover photo by Sven Scheuermeier on Unsplash.
The state of UCCRTF-supported cities during the pandemic

The state of UCCRTF-supported cities during the pandemic

The COVID-19 outbreak has dramatically changed the shape of daily life in cities around the world. The cities in which the Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund (UCCRTF) operates are no exception.

​Economic activity has slowed considerably during lockdown and the planning and construction of infrastructure projects face delays as municipal governments tackle the immediate health crisis. So, what has life been like inside cities supported by UCCRTF? What lessons might the response to the COVID-19 crisis hold for building resilience to other shocks and stresses such as climate change?

​The city resilience officers of UCCRTF, who have been working on climate change resilience projects in many secondary cities across South and Southeast Asia, share how the pandemic has impacted their cities

Image: Thanh Van, UCCRTF CRO in Vietnam

Summer season has arrived in Viet Nam and temperatures are rising. Reflecting on recent months, Hanoi citizens are very proud of what has been done to combat COVID-19. By the end of April, the Vietnamese Government recorded only 270 confirmed cases, of which 223 have recovered and returned home. Since that time there have been no further deaths, as of June 17th 2020.

The relatively low number compared to neighboring countries is largely due to the swift and effective prevention and control measures that the government put in place since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) in January and cases in Hanoi in early March.

Viet Nam suspended entry of all foreigners from 22 March and mandatory health declarations became required at all international borders for Vietnamese nationals arriving from abroad. Authorities also suspended schools and canceled festivals nationwide. The most challenging time for many was the 22 days of lockdown from April 1 to 22. Everyone was asked to stay at home and stop all unessential activities.

People remain worried about the possibility of the virus spreading through the poorer areas of the cities, where living conditions are crowded. In Hue and Hoi An City, most people rely on tourism and other related business activities. They work in restaurants, hotels, tourism services, or small businesses such as street vendors or lottery ticket sellers. During the lockdown, the ban on gatherings meant many businesses had to close, many people lost their income and jobs.

To support these vulnerable groups, the government provided a support package of about VND 62 trillion ($2.7 billion) for around 20 million severely affected people for three months between April and June. In addition, free rice distribution centers were set up in Hanoi, HCMC, Danang, Hue, and other provinces to help poor people and those affected by the coronavirus.

While the country works toward a socioeconomic recovery, the immediate response to the crisis will focus on food production and manufacturing to support labor markets. As early as 4 May, tens of millions of students from preschool to high school in 63 provinces and cities returned to school, taking another step towards returning to some semblance of normal life.

Free Rice ATM in Hanoi for Poor effected
In Hanoi, rice is distributed for free to help with the daily needs of low-income groups (photo by Thanh Van)

The whole country has been declared as an ‘Infection Risk Area’ under Section 11 of the Bangladesh Infectious Disease (Prevention, Control and Elimination) Act, 2018. As of 17th June, 98,489 cases of COVID-19 have been identified and the number of deaths has risen to 1,305.   The highest number of COVID-19 cases is recorded in the older parts of Dhaka City.

All offices remain closed to prevent the spread of the disease. The army is currently carrying out street campaigns to enforce social distancing. People in infected areas must stay at home unless absolutely necessary. A daily curfew is enforced from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

The office of the Prime Minister issued an order assigning officials to each of the 64 districts in the country to supervise and coordinate a large-scale relief distribution program for vulnerable citizens.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved an emergency grant of $300,000 to the Bangladesh Government to help respond to the crisis. In collaboration with Directorate General of Health Services, this grant will be used to procure personal protective equipment such as face masks, safety googles, aprons, thermometers, and biohazard bags.

Passengers wearing protective masks try to board on a launch at the Sadarghat terminal in Dhaka, Bangladesh (photo by ADB).

All the UCCRTF-funded cities remain under partial or complete lockdown, which is delaying progress on urban development, planning, and infrastructure programs. More importantly, cities are facing an additional challenge as the country approaches cyclone season. The combined COVID-19 and large-scale climate impacts will be difficult to manage as the responses to COVID (such as to stay inside and to maintain social distancing) are in contrast to the recommended response to cyclones, which may require people to leave their homes or congregate together in protective shelters.

​Recently, on 20 May, Bangladesh faced Super Cyclone Amphan, which made landfall in the southwestern part of the country causing serious damage to property. The UCCRTF-supported city of Patuakhali was badly affected. The government evacuated an estimated 2.4 million people from coastal districts, although observing social distancing was challenging. As an immediate measure, schools were used for more space in addition to regular cyclone shelters.

​A 3- to 4-meter tidal surge that accompanied the cyclone, however, destroyed crops and sources of drinking water.

​Relief efforts are currently underway in coordination with local administrations. According to the Bagerhat district administration, Amphan caused $50 million in direct damages with around 349 houses partially damaged and 374 houses completely destroyed. The total number of people affected by the cyclone in Bangladesh is estimated at 5,331.

A health center near Peshawar is open round-the-clock and offers assistance to mothers and their children, in additional to general consultations (photo by Mallika Panorat, European Union).

​At present, only emergency services are available in all public and private hospitals, which have recently re-opened after being closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Schools are still closed and only some offer classes online. There are also severe travel restrictions. The lockdown has affected every part of life in Pakistan’s cities.

The huge reduction in traffic has led to big improvements in air quality in major cities. While there is no data covering small cities backed by UCCRTF, the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency has reported that the air quality index in Lahore has fallen from 496 parts per million (ppm) in January to 37 ppm in April. Similarly, for Islamabad, average concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide are below the permissible limits of National Environmental Quality Standards, and concentrations of fine particulates (PM2.5) are also within permissible limits.

Image: Tassadaq Shah UCCRTF CRO in Pakistan.

Currently, the UCCTRF-supported cities in Pakistan are not coping with other shocks and stresses from natural or human-induced hazards. However, since the cities are vulnerable to urban flooding and earthquakes, they are still at risk. The monsoon season is also drawing near (expected to start in July), which could compound the challenges faced by the cities. They will have to cope with flood management alongside COVID-19. While government officials, including national, provincial, and district disaster management authorities, are focused on COVID-19 response, this may well mean that there is less capacity to prepare for the upcoming flooding season. 

This article was originally posted on the Asian Development Bank’s Livable Cities blog.
Cover photo by Thijs Degenkamp on Unsplash.
Meet the Acclimatise Team ft. Will Bugler

Meet the Acclimatise Team ft. Will Bugler

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

I manage Acclimatise’s work on communicating climate risk and resilience. We’re one of the very few climate change consulting firms that specialises in communicating risk, so I feel really fortunate to be able to work alongside colleagues with such varied skillsets, from technical risk analysists and data wizards, to policy specialists and communications scientists.

Who knows what a typical workday is anymore in these times of COVID?! Most of my time at work is spent writing about climate resilience in some form or another, interspersed with drinking tea.

What inspired you to work on climate issues?

It’s the defining issue of our times, and to some extent, I felt compelled to – we’ve got a host of these really big, intersecting challenges that are all converging at the moment: climate change, biodiversity loss, soil quality, ocean acidification – they demand our attention. The implications of inaction are hard to fathom.

What album, book, and luxury item would you take with you on a deserted island?

This is like the UK radio show “Desert Island Discs”… I’m going to assume that I get the Beatles’ records as standard (they’re already on the Island). In that case probably, The Velvet Underground’s eponymous 1967 record. The book would be 100-years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez – apt for the island, and is such an epic. Luxury item – Swiss Army knife.

What have you been up to during lockdown?

I’ve been holed-up on my folk’s farm in Herefordshire for most of the lockdown, so have been lucky to have had some space to roam. I’m a keen runner, so have been exploring some of the more isolated trails in the surrounding hills – social isolation at its finest.

Why should climate change and communications go hand-in-hand?

Climate change has always fascinated me because it’s an issue that we know a huge amount about how to solve, and yet we are collectively failing to do so. This is why I think climate communications is such a central issue, and is what drew me to it. We’ve known what causes climate change for over 100 years, we know what needs to be done to slow it down, and we know a lot about what to do to make ourselves more resilient to its impacts. The science is settled. Yet governments have been talking for over 25 years about how to fix it, without making a dent in greenhouse gas emissions. The way that the climate threat has been communicated and translated into policy and behavioural change has been a major issue. In many ways, our collective failure to successfully tackle climate change is one of communication.

What is a subject that you would love to learn more about?

Oh, so many things! Talking to my fifteen-year-old nephew about physics really lets me know how little I know about things that are just incredibly amazing. But human behaviour has always fascinated me, what influences it, how it changes, what drives us to do what we do…

View Will’s team page here.

Rising heat affects Europe’s floods and droughts

Rising heat affects Europe’s floods and droughts

By Tim Radford

Patterns of Europe’s floods and droughts are starting to change: each could be more extreme, and far likelier with rising heat.

Climate change has begun to affect the pattern of Europe’s floods. The past three decades have seen “exceptional” flooding, say Austrian scientists who have worked their way through documentary records for the last 500 years.

At the same time, heat and drought affecting the continent are on the increase. The summer of 2018 broke all records for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and by 2019 many trees in Europe’s forests were partly or entirely dead. And by 2085 rainfall could decline by a fifth, Swiss ecologists report, to alter the make-up of the forests dramatically.

Both findings are consistent with the big picture of climate change worldwide: wet seasons will become ever wetter; dry seasons too will become more extreme, according to US researchers in a third separate study.

All attempts to establish climate records involve careful interrogation of the past. Günter Blöschl of Vienna’s University of Technology and colleagues report in Nature that they sifted evidence from mountain lake beds, floodplains and 500 years of contemporary documents to identify decades more than usually rich in floods.

The floods of 1990 to 2016 in Western and Central Europe have been among the worst in history. To make sure of such a claim, the researchers identified periods of calamitous inundation across the whole region in the late 16th century and again in the 17th; and in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

“We should be preparing for the future by improving the technology to efficiently use water for crops”

If these episodes had anything in common, bygone floods happened when air temperatures were lower: fewer of them, too, happened in the summer.

“This finding seems to contradict the observation that, in some areas such as in the northwest of Europe, the recent warmer climate is aligned with larger floods,” Professor Blöschl said. “Our study shows for the first time that the underlying mechanisms have changed.

“While in the past floods have occurred more frequently under colder conditions, the opposite is the case now. The hydrological conditions of the present are very different from those in the past.”

Now, 55% of Central European floods happen in the summer, compared with 41% in previous centuries. It’s a message for planners, city chiefs and governments across the region: flood management is going to have to adapt.

So, too, is forest and woodland management, say scientists in Switzerland and Germany, who have been measuring changes in the canopies of their forests.

Growing vulnerability

For most of Europe, the single most extreme heatwave has been that of 2003: that is, until 2018. The sustained heat and aridity made temperatures in the growing season of 2018 on average 1.2°C higher than 2003, and 3.3°C higher than the average from 1961-1990.

Woodland foliage showed signs of drought stress. Leaves wilted, aged and dropped much earlier, and by 2019 many trees were dead, or partly dead. Those that survived were more vulnerable to beetle or fungal pests. Losses included beech, long considered the most drought-resistant.

Ten out of the 12 hottest growing seasons in the last 120 years have all happened this century. Climate forecasts already predict more of the same, with precipitation falling by a fifth by 2085. Foresters will have to think again about woodland design.

“Spruce was most heavily affected. But it was a surprise for us that beech, silver fir and pine were also damaged to this extent,” said Ansgar Kahmen of the University of Basel in Switzerland.

“We still need to study which tree species are good in which combinations, including from a forestry perspective. That will take time.”

Keeping Paris promise

And worldwide, farmers, foresters and water managers can also expect more of the same. As temperatures rise worldwide, dry seasons will tend to become drier, and wet seasons wetter.

US researchers report in the journal Nature Communications that they divided the world into nine land regions, and looked at annual rain or snowfall and how this fluctuated through the seasons in each of the nine from 1971 to 2000. They then looked at future temperature predictions for the rest of the century to see what happened to water availability.

The best outcome for relatively stable water supplies would be if nations could act to limit the planet’s average global temperature rise to no more than 2°C by 2100, in line with a promise made by 195 governments in Paris in 2015.

At higher temperatures the predicted scatter of flood and drought became more extreme. Once again, the message is: start planning. “We need to take precautions to optimally use how much water we have,” said Ashok Mishra of Clemson University in South Carolina.

“As the climate changes and population increases, we should be preparing for the future by improving the technology to efficiently use water for crops.” − Climate News Network

Cover photo by Villy, via Wikimedia Commons.
This article was originally posted on the Climate News Network.
NGFS publish their guidance on scenario analysis for central banks and supervisors

NGFS publish their guidance on scenario analysis for central banks and supervisors

By Laura Canevari

The Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) has released a set of high level and harmonised Reference Scenarios in June, 2020. Central banks and supervisors have the responsibility to prepare for the potential impacts from climate change. Yet, there are great uncertainties regarding what climate change impacts may look like in the future, as the way that climate risks will take shape is dependent on the carbon-intensity development pathways that countries decide to take. The use and application of foresight tools such as scenario analysis allows organisations to test the robustness of their strategies against a number of plausible and coherent future storylines.

The use of scenario analysis as a tool for robust decision-making is already being promoted in the private sector through the efforts of the Task force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Organisations can face many challenges when trying to develop and apply scenario analysis for financial planning. In particular, it is difficult for non-experts to penetrate the technical parameters and assumptions behind climate change models, ultimately to decide which climate and emissions scenarios to use in order to explore a good range of plausible futures. Set out in the publication, ‘NGFS climate scenarios for central banks and supervisors’, the Reference Scenarios are therefore well-placed to help organisations (central banks, supervisors, other financial institutions and corporates) explore the impacts of transition and physical climate risks to the economy and the financial system in a consistent and transparent way.

Apart from setting out Reference Scenarios, the new NGFS climate scenarios guide offers a four-step process for scenario analysis, which are briefly described in Figure 1. (Source: NGFS, 2020)

In Step 1, central banks and supervisors should first consider how the exercise will relate to their objectives and define whether the scenarios are going to be used to:

  • Assess specific risks to financial firms,
  • Assess financial system-wide risks
  • Assess macroeconomic impacts
  • Assess risks to a central bank’s own balance sheet

As part of this first step, central banks and supervisors need to define what are the most material risks to the institution’s objectives, which can help in the identification of physical and transition risks that are likely to have the greatest impact. At this stage, it is also important that central banks and supervisors consider how different stakeholders (e.g. financial institutions, financial standard setters, governments) will be involved in the scenario analysis.

In Step 2, central banks and regulators are suggested to make a number of informed choices on the climate scenarios assumptions they will use for scenario design (e.g. Greenhouse Gas (GHG) concentration and socio-economic pathways as well as policy, technology and market trends). At this stage, central banks and supervisors should consider the types of climate risks that they want to explore and the NGFS strongly encourages the use of multiple scenarios in order to explore a range of futures in order to unveil the broad spectrum of transition and physical risks that could emerge under different economic development pathways.  As noted in the guidance report, “The number of scenarios that central banks and supervisors choose to analyse will depend on the objective of the exercise, the materiality of the macro-financial risks, and resources available.” (p. 14). This also applies to the choice of scenario granularity and choice of time horizons.

For the NGFS Reference scenarios, multiple models were used to capture a range of uncertainty in the results, although they were all build against the assumptions of the same socio-economic pathways (namely the SSP2 “middle of the road” pathway). But each varies according to how policy and technology are assumed to evolve.  A number of scenarios are thus developed according to these assumptions, namely:

  • Three orderly transition scenarios: One which is representative and assume immediate action is taken to reduce emissions in alignment with the Paris Agreement and that all CDR technologies needed to reach net zero carbon are available; and two additional ones which are even more ambitious;
  • Three disorderly transition scenarios, which assume delayed policy action and limited access to CDR technologies but differ in the extent of dependence on Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR )technologies;
  • Two “Hot house world” scenarios [i.e. the current trajectory]:
    • One scenario which assumes only current policies are implemented and the goals of the Paris Agreement are not met, leading to substantial physical risks over time and another that accounts for all; and
    • One scenario which incorporates all pledges from Paris  (even if not yet implemented) and leads to substantial, yet less, physical impacts.

In Step 3, central banks and supervisors will use the scenarios to assess economic and financial impacts. There are many challenges for doing this. For example:

  • It is difficult to anticipate and model the extent of macro-financial impacts caused by physical impacts due to tipping points in the Earth system that we are just starting to understand (e.g. loss of ice sheet, permafrost and forest loss).
  • Current economic models are ill-suited to study climate risks so central banks may need to deploy a combination of approach to tackle limitations of existing models.
  • The channels through which economic impacts translate to financial impacts are complex
  • Additional variables may be needed due to the limited number of macro-financial outputs available from climate models underpinning the scenarios.
  • There is limited data and research to support scenario analysis

To refine the scenarios, the NGFS also encourages central banks and regulators to revise scenario assumptions, address more comprehensively systemic risks, further elaborate on transmission channels, and perform a second round of the exercise. This recommendation is already being taken forward, for example, by the Bank of England (BoE) in its 2021 Biennial Exploratory Scenario (BES) exercise.

Step 4, the final step set out in the guidance, helps central banks and supervisors define their communication strategy of scenario analysis results. It includes guidance on the type of information that should be disclosed, the intended audiences and methods to communicate the results.

As noted by Frank Elderson (Chair of NGFS) and Sarah Breeden (BoE and Chair of Macrofinancial workstream) in the Foreword of the report, “Challenges and shortcomings remain. Indeed, we are close to the start of this intellectual journey not at its end.” The effort to harmonise scenario approaches and provide relevant guidance to central banks and regulators achieved in this document, however, is commendable and offers a good foundation for future developments in climate scenario analysis. Not only are the Reference Scenarios and guidance relevant for central banks and regulators, they can in fact be instrumental for financial firms and corporates that want to explore their exposure to these emerging risks.  

Cover photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.
NEW GUIDANCE: Nine questions that Non-Executive Directors should ask boards today

NEW GUIDANCE: Nine questions that Non-Executive Directors should ask boards today

Acclimatise and Asia-Pacific’s largest law firm, Minter Ellison, are pleased to launch new guidance to assist Non-Executive Directors (NEDs) exercise oversight of corporate action on physical climate risk management. This guidance, prepared for the global Directors’ climate forum, Chapter Zero, brings leading physical risk and legal expertise to bear on an issue that represents one of – if not the – key challenge facing corporates today: How can business build resilience and thrive in the context of a changing climate?

The physical impacts of a changing climate are impacting businesses today, modifying a suite of risks that may previously have been viewed to be managed. These impacts – which are affecting firms, their key stakeholders and supply chains, and customers – risk undermining the foundations of corporate value (including reputation value) and placing constraints on the accomplishment of strategic objectives. Critically, these risks are becoming translated into foreseeable material financial risks and liability risks.

The physical impacts of climate change also raise important far-reaching structural and long-term implications across a host of factors that affect companies. These include access to critical material inputs, labour supply, household income, demand for goods and services, and ecosystem health.

At the same time, investor, insurer and regulatory expectations are increasing, with the disclosures aligned with the Recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) on a course to becoming mandatory in several jurisdictions.

The real physical risks facing firms and the evolving regulatory landscape both create growing urgency on the need for corporates to understand, assess and disclose physical-related climate risks and opportunities. In their oversight capacity, NEDs have a unique and powerful role to play in driving Board-level action on climate risk. By being prepared with key facts and probing questions, NEDs can help improve Board accountability and ensure that key – potentially overlooked – issues are being addressed.

This guidance is designed as a ‘pick-up-and-use’ tool to be used in the boardroom setting today, listing nine key questions (and follow-up questions), covering themes ranging from climate impacts to liability, that NEDs can ask company Directors. The questions are applicable across all sectors, globally. In due course, we intend to release questions targeted at specific sectors.

The guidance also includes a short scientific summary and an overview of recent developments in the disclosure and regulatory landscape.

Access the guidance here.

Contact us at: r.bater(at)

Click here for more information on Acclimatise’s TCFD-aligned disclosure services.

Click here to learn more about Acclimatise’s corporate climate risk and adaptation services.

Cover photo by Patrick Mueller on Unsplash.
Climate Financial Risk Forum releases ground-breaking guide for financial firms

Climate Financial Risk Forum releases ground-breaking guide for financial firms

By Robin Hamaker-Taylor and Georgina Wade

On 29 June 2020, the UK’s Climate Financial Risk Forum (CFRF), co-chaired by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), published their guide to climate-related financial risk management. The guide draws on good practice examples from industry as well as guidelines set by relevant and respected industry bodies, including the recommendations of the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

The new CFRF guide aims to help financial firms understand the risks and opportunities that arise from climate change and provides support for how to integrate them into their risk, strategy and decision-making processes. As part of this, the guide considers how firms can plan for the impact of climate policies over different time horizons and assess their exposure to climate-related financial risks so that they can adapt their businesses in response.

Written by industry, for industry, this guide is based on CFRF discussions that have been convened and facilitated by the PRA and the FCA. The forum, similar to the Task force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), has brought together expertise from both financial firms and corporates to develop this guidance. Over the course of 2019 and 2020, the forum’s four working groups (Disclosures, Innovation, Scenario Analysis and Risk Management) have shared good practice and analysis to advance thinking on how firms can better manage the risks posed by climate change and support the transition to a net-zero carbon economy.

Each of the four working groups wrote a chapter of the final guide, and a summary document was co-produced by the FCA and PRA. The PRA and FCA have convened and facilitated CFRF discussions but the views expressed in this guide do not necessarily represent the view of the regulators and does not constitute regulatory guidance.

Access the individual chapters of the guide here:

Acclimatise is proud to be featured in the Risk Management Annex: list of data and tools providers. We are a specialist advisory and analytics company, providing world-class expertise in climate change adaptation and resilience. With experience in more than 90 countries, our work plays an important role in shaping the international adaptation agenda. We work closely with corporates and financial institutions on their physical climate risk analysis, by interpreting climate science and information in the context of their own strategies, processes, capacities.

Click here for more information on Acclimatise’s TCFD-aligned disclosure services.

Click here to learn more about Acclimatise’s corporate climate risk and adaptation services.