Category: Events

Online event: Building climate resilience through insurance: Lessons from the InsuResilience Investment Fund’s first six years

Online event: Building climate resilience through insurance: Lessons from the InsuResilience Investment Fund’s first six years

The InsuResilience Investment Fund (IIF) is hosting an event at this years’ InsuResilience Global Partnership Annual Forum. The virtual side event “Building climate resilience through insurance: Lessons from IIF’s first six years” will take place on the 10th of December 2020 at 15:15 – 16:30 CET.

In addition to the side event, IIF will participate on Day 4 of the Annual Forum. Maria Teresa Zappia, Chief Impact & Blended Finance Officer of the IIF Fund Manager BlueOrchard Finance, will participate in a panel discussion on “Impacting lives”.

Learn more about the event below and register today to guarantee your place.

Session description

How can we mobilize private finance to achieve real and lasting impact through offering climate insurance in developing countries? Join the IIF for a stimulating discussion to learn from its experience after six years of building climate resilience through climate insurance in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caucasus.

On the day that the IIF launches its new report “Protecting low-income communities through climate insurance: Achievements from the InsuResilience Investment Fund” authored by IIF, Acclimatise and Climate Finance Advisors, the panel will discuss how the IIF has used a blended finance approach to direct private capital towards building climate resilience through insurance. We will hear directly from two of IIF’s investees about how the Fund‘s investment and support has helped them to launch and grow climate insurance products, in Nigeria and in Pakistan.

The panel also includes representatives from IIF’s fund managers as well as its public and private investors, who will provide insights into how the IIF has raised USD 167 million and invested USD 133 million in 21 companies from across the insurance value chain. Through its unique model, the IIF has extended climate insurance cover to 25 million poor or climate vulnerable people in developing countries.

The session will give participants the opportunity to learn about the IIF’s strategic approach to developing an emerging ecosystem of insurance entities in developing countries and delivering real resilience benefits to poor and climate vulnerable people, and at the same time, delivering value for its investors.

The panel: Moderated by Lea Mueller, Head of Consulting at CelsiusPro, the panel will include:

  • Stefan W. Hirche is Principal Portfolio Manager at KfW, Germany
  • Chukwuma Kalu, Head, Agric Insurance & Emerging Business, Royal Exchange General Insurance Co. Ltd, Nigeria
  • Qasim Raza, Associate Principal, Investment Team, Open Society Foundation, UK
  • Zainab Saeed, Head of Research & Development at Kashf Foundation, Pakistan
  • Maria Teresa Zappia, Chief Impact & Blended Finance Officer, Deputy CEO BlueOrchard Finance, Switzerland
UNDRR’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction – 2020 Edition

UNDRR’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction – 2020 Edition

Tomorrow marks the UNDRR’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction. Held every 13 October, the day celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of reining in the risks that they face.

This year’s edition continues as part of the “Sendai Seven” campaign, focusing on Target E: “Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020.”  This year’s theme is about conveying that many disasters can be avoided if there are disaster risk reduction strategies in place to manage and reduce existing levels of risk.

You can find dedicated resources, stories, articles and events taking place around this day, here.
Acclimatise to speak at Climate Week Colombia 2020

Acclimatise to speak at Climate Week Colombia 2020

Acclimatise is excited to announce its presence at Climate Week Columbia 2020, an official event of The Climate Group in partnership with the Green Chamber of Commerce, KIMSA and Brigard Urrutia, with the support of the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce, Grupo Doble Ele, LIM (Leadership in Motion), Peace Startup Foundation, Sostenerte, Agenda Ambiental and Conscious Global Market. Acclimatise Business Development Associate, Dr Laura Canevari, will be speaking at the event, at 11:40 AM (COT) on the opening day, September 21st.

During this event attendees will learn about innovative climate solutions from scientific research and ancestral knowledge, sustainable companies and enterprises and cultural and artistic manifestations promoted by NGOs and social and environmental movements of civil society. The purpose of this event is to motivate participants to generate new ideas, change their lifestyles and, through new sustainable consumption habits, influence production and marketing patterns in the Columbian economy that affect the climate.

Around 60 representatives of pioneering organisations who seek to scale their impact on the economy and society will take part in the conferences, panels and cultural and artistic activities to contribute effective solutions to the climate emergency.

Dr Canevari will reflect on the global experience of Acclimatise supporting businesses and financial institutions integrating climate change considerations into their governance and risk management practices, and introduce her own venture ITACA aimed at accelerating climate adaptation in the Caribbean.

Register for the event here.

Webinar: Risk-Informed Investment for Macro-Economic Financial Stability

Webinar: Risk-Informed Investment for Macro-Economic Financial Stability

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) is hosting a webinar on Tuesday the 15th of September from 14:00-15:15 CET.

This is the first in a series of four webinars examining the case for risk informed investment as a critical element of macro-economic financial stability and the achievement of the SDGs. It will look at examples where we can draw lessons from progress to date, identify the gaps and explore opportunities to address them. This series builds on a report on the integration of disaster risk reduction and climate action into sustainable financing published by UNDRR in 2019 in the European context, and accompanies the development of a new global study to identify concrete actions, evidence and tools to integrate multi-hazard and systemic risk approaches into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in support of more risk-informed investment and finance.

Speakers include:

Mami Mizutori – UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction

Steve Waygood – Chief Responsible InvestmentOfficer, Aviva Investors

Sirpa Pietikäinen – Member of the European Parliament

Felix Suntheim – Financial Sector Expert, IMF

Register here.

European Space Agency’s EO4SD climate cluster offers free webinar series on using Earth Observation to tackle climate change

European Space Agency’s EO4SD climate cluster offers free webinar series on using Earth Observation to tackle climate change

The European Space Agency’s Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) Climate Resilience Cluster is hosting a free webinar series to provide insight about the potential of Earth Observation (EO) to support climate-resilient decision making at the regional and national scale. The seven-part series is will be hosted every Thursday at 16:00 (CEST) starting 11th June 2020. The series is aimed at all those interested in developing a foundational knowledge of EO and how it can be applied practically in the context of climate-resilience projects and programmes.

Registration is now open. Sign up for one or more webinars in the series here. More information about the individual sessions can be found below.

Drawing on the EO4SD Climate Resilience Cluster’s extensive experience working with leading international finance institutions including the Asian Development Bank, The World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, Africa Risk Capacity and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the webinar series will provide ‘hands-on’ sessions and guided tutorials for existing climate resilience platforms.

Over the course of the series, participants will: understand the basics of EO data in the context of climate resilience, learn how, why and when to use EO data to inform decision making, learn about applying EO data to manage key climate risks including flooding and drought, and learn practical skills about accessing and using EO data tools and platforms.

Registration is free with registration closing the night prior to each webinar at midnight (12 a.m. CET).

Webinar 01: Setting the Scene: The climate resilience challenge and how ESA is responding – 11th June 2020/16:00 CEST.

The first webinar of this series will set the scene by summarising the European Space Agency’s current and planned activities in the climate domain, introduce the nature and scope of the ESA E04SD Climate Resilience Cluster, and provide an overview of the scientific and policy context to climate action.

To download and share the webinar invitation, click here.

Register for the webinar here.

Webinar 02: The how, when, and why of using EO data in Climate resilience decision-making Showcase 1: Agricultural livelihoods & water 18th June 2020/16:00 CEST.

As one of the most climate-dependent sectors, agriculture can be highly vulnerable to the impacts of slow-onset climate change and the increasing frequency of high-magnitude events. In economies highly dependent on agriculture, climate impacts can elevate risks of food insecurity, loss of livelihoods and export revenue, and heightened competition among water users (among others). All of these can elevate both social and macroeconomic instability that place constraints on prosperity and development. The second webinar of this series aims to introduce the use and benefits of EO-derived data and services in climate resilience decision making in climate resilience decision-making in the agriculture and water sectors.

Register for the webinar here.

Webinar 03 The how, when, and why of using EO data in Climate resilience decision-making Showcase 2: Urban resilience & environmental & natural resources – 25th June 2020 at 16:00 CEST.

Climate change is putting considerable stress on urban areas, driven by hazards such as increasing extreme heat, fluvial flooding and sea level rise. These hazards can increase risks to human health, property, and the performance of critical urban infrastructure. At the same time, the environmental services on which such areas depend are also being impacted. EO data can be used to bring high-resolution insight anywhere in the world to inform a range of decisions, from informing ‘climate-adaptive’ building design to helping to identify opportunities for climate resilient development and economic activities in coastal areas. The third webinar of this series aims to introduce the use and benefits of EO-derived data and services in climate resilience decision-making in the areas of urban resilience and environmental & natural resources.

Register for the webinar here.

Webinar 04 – Water world: How EO data is deepening our knowledge of flood risk and water resource management – 2nd July 2020/16:00 CEST.

Earth Observation (EO) data and services are vital tools for the water sector, supporting flood events, and conducting wetland inventory status in rural and urban areas. EO provides valuable information (Flood extent, historical flood events etc.) with the aim to assist authorities to prepare the most effective actions to manage flood risk and develop plans to tackle disasters. The fourth webinar of series will present in detail how Earth Observation data with different spatial and temporal resolution can contribute to flood risk, water and wetness management.

Register for the webinar here.

Webinar 05 – Is this drought normal? How EO data can help you understand drought hazard and benchmark your risk – 9th July/16:00 CEST.

Drought is one of the main natural causes of agricultural, economic, and environmental damage. The effects of drought on the environment and agriculture are evident after a long period with a shortage of precipitation, making it very difficult to determine the onset of drought, its extent and end. The EO time-series datasets can build understanding about the scale of effects associated with different drought impacts, helping to develop early food security assessments in specific geographic areas or contingency planning and emergency preparedness for future shocks in a country. It can also improve understanding of the drivers and causes of food insecurity in areas and identify which investments or risk management strategies are best. The fifth webinar of this series will present how Earth Observation data with different spatial and temporal resolution can provide information on drought events.

Register for the webinar here.

Webinar 06 – ‘How to’ Session: Using the EO4SD CR Platform to access EO data (hands-on) – 16th July 2020/16:00 CEST.

The EO4SD Climate Resilience cluster project has deployed a web based (EO4SD CR) platform to provide climate action programmes with enhanced climate risk management capabilities allowing users to explore the data and apply on demand analytics. This sixth webinar of this series will comprise of a hands-on session and a guided tutorial in which structured exercises will enable participants to familiarize, navigate and extract the information required in their assessments.

Register for the webinar here.

Webinar 07 – ‘How to” Session: Using Jupyter Notebook to access EO data (hands-on) – 23rd July 2020/ 16:00 CEST.

An extension of webinar 06, webinar 07 will be a hands-on session and guided tutorial for advanced users to explore how to use the EO4SD CR platform Jupyter Notebook, including structured exercises of how to access EO data, conduct analyses and extract data time series.

Register for the webinar here.

Background to EO and climate change resilience

EO has a considerable potential to inform and facilitate climate resilient development around the globe. ESA’s Climate Change Initiative provides stable, long-term, satellite-based “Essential Climate Variables” data products for climate modellers and researchers.

EO data facilitates effective climate change planning and response by providing timely and accurate data about the Earth’s atmosphere, landmasses, and oceans. This insight, combined with information about society, can paint a powerful picture about climate risks and resilience building opportunities, and help drive better decisions.

To download and share the overview of the webinar series, click here.

Upcoming IIGCC webinar launches new guidance on physical climate risks for investors

Upcoming IIGCC webinar launches new guidance on physical climate risks for investors

An upcoming webinar, led by the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) with Acclimatise and Chronos Sustainability, will launch guidance for investors to help them get started in understanding, assessing and managing physical climate-related risks. The webinar, ‘Understanding Physical Climate Risk for Investors’ will be held on May 26th 2020 at 14:00 BST/15:00 CEST/ 9:00 EDT.

As the impacts of climate change become more apparent, the physical risks by this new climate reality has significant implications for performance of investment portfolios. A changing climate is impacting portfolios now and can impair value over time. This places a growing urgency on the need for investors to understand, assess and report on physical-related climate risks and opportunities. Acclimatise led the development of the new guidance document, available immediately after the webinar, with input from Chronos Sustainability and IIGCC members and staff.

In this webinar, participants will hear from keynote speaker Emma Howard-Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, on the growing impacts from physical climate risks that investors need to manage. John Firth, CEO and Co-Founder of Acclimatise, will present the guidance developed for investors, outlining the key steps in a risk assessment and management process to help investors begin to understand and assess the risks to their portfolios. There will also be a panel discussion and Q&A with three investors who have taken steps to address physical risks and identify opportunities to demonstrate how investors can get stared and key issues to consider.

Register for the webinar here.

Visit the event website here.

Cover photo by Jeff Brown on Unsplash.
UK public’s climate concern at all time high according to major new study on risk and adaptation

UK public’s climate concern at all time high according to major new study on risk and adaptation

By Will Bugler

New research has pointed to a large shift in the British public’s attitude to risks of climate change. The study, which was conducted during the height of the Brexit debate, found that climate change was second only to the UK’s departure from the EU as an issue of concern for the UK public.

The study, launched earlier this week at the Royal Society in London, is one of the first major studies into public attitudes towards climate risk and adaptation. The survey, carried out by a team of researchers from Cardiff University and Climate Outreach, showed significant concern around climate impacts such as storms, flooding and, in particular, heatwaves, and suggested strong support for policies to address these.

Acclimatise’s Will Bugler sat on the advisory panel for the study, which found that many more Britons believe climate change is “the most important issues facing the country in the next 20 years” than three years ago. 23% of respondents named climate change as the most important issue, up from just 2% in 2016.

Image: Almost a quarter of respondents list climate change as “the most important issues facing the country in the next 20 years”

“This is a remarkable shift in British public opinion – the biggest change we’ve seen in recent years,” said Professor Nick Pidgeon, from Cardiff University’s School of Psychology, who led the project.

“With climate policy entering a critical phase, as the UK prepares to host the UN climate summit – and as many areas seek to recover from winter flooding – these survey results provide strong evidence of a shift in perceptions among the British public towards greater concern for climate risks and their impacts.

Climate concern on the rise and scepticism fades

While climate scepticism is still prominent in the UK’s print media, and online, the study, based on 1,401 nationally-representative respondents, found that climate change scepticism was low amongst the British public. About two thirds (64%) felt Britain was already feeling the effects of climate change (as compared to 41% in 2010) and that climate concern has doubled since 2016, with 40% saying they were now “very or extremely worried”.

Storms and flooding remain the highest perceived risks, and people felt that they were likely to increase in the future. The study also found that there was a surprisingly big surge in concern for overheat risks – 72% thought heatwaves were now a serious problem for the UK (compared to 23% in 2013). Other knock on effects due to extreme weather such as effects on food supplies and health impacts were also of very high concern for most respondents.

Strong support for climate action

Importantly, the public concern for climate impacts was matched by a desire for action. There was very strong support for a range of adaptation policies, for example spending on flood defences or tighter building regulations. Three quarters of those asked supported using public money now to prepare the UK, and protecting health, vulnerable groups and the emergency services from climate impacts were top priorities. Interestingly there was less concern about protecting economic growth economic growth through adaptation policy.

“The current sharp rise in risk awareness is a real departure from that trend,” said Professor Pidgeon, “and this is probably due to prominent recent severe weather events, widespread climate protests and greater media coverage.” Overall people felt that adaptation and resilience building was the responsibility of government, however only a relatively small number of people said that they were likely to write to their MP about the issue. This perhaps indicates a lack of public trust in MPs to affect decision making on climate change adaptation.

Implications for climate adaptation communications

Accompanying the perceptions report Climate Outreach developed guidelines to support improved public engagement on climate risk issues. This has seven key recommendations:

  1. Climate change concern is at an all-time high, and adaptation policies are supported across the political spectrum – these are important starting points for public engagement
  2. Climate impacts are increasingly salient, with a surge in concern around extreme heat – this opens up a new front for engaging the public
  3. Climate change is getting ‘closer to home’ – show how climate risks are relevant to people’s lives by relating them to widely-shared values, and build efficacy by making the link to constructive solutions
  4. Framing messages – concerns about mitigation and adaptation reinforce each other and are perceived as two sides of the same coin
  5. Health risks, wellbeing and adaptation – make the connection and frame messages in this way, but don’t assume much existing knowledge
  6. Climate conversations need to go beyond discussions of emissions targets – a ‘just transition’ applies to adaptation as well
  7. From concern to commitment – deepening public engagement on climate change is the challenge ahead

The research was conducted as part of the UK Climate Resilience Programme, an £18.7m inter-multidisciplinary collaboration, funded by UK Research and Innovation and led by the Natural Environment Research Council and the Met Office as part of the Strategic Priorities Fund.

Dr Kate Lonsdale, co-champion of the UK Climate Resilience Programme, said: “The scientific consensus is increasingly clear that climate risks are increasing in likelihood and severity. “Now we have evidence that people in Britain see these risks are relevant to their lives today rather than something that will happen in the future and in other places.”

Download a copy of the perceptions study here.

Download a copy of the accompanying guidelines for public communications here.

Cover photo take by the author.
Private sector finance will play a key role at COP26

Private sector finance will play a key role at COP26

By Georgina Wade

The COP26 private finance agenda was unveiled at an event in London last week.  Mark Carney, who will step down as governor of the Bank of England next month to focus on his roles as UN special envoy for climate action and finance and the Prime Minister’s Finance Adviser for COP 26 unveiled the agenda. The event also shared a moving preview of Sir David Attenborough’s new film, a keynote from European Central Bank President Madame Christine Lagarde. Acclimatise Chief Technical Officer, Dr Richenda Connell, attended the event.

In his speech, Carney revealed that the objective for the private finance work for COP26, which will unfold in Scotland in November, was to “ensure that every financial decision take climate change into account”. Carney further explained that actions would be needed by regulators and government to catalyse the private financial sector’s efforts, calling on the private finance sector to “help refine and implement” disclosure based on the Task Force on Climate-related Disclosures (TCFD) framework.

Additionally, Carney mentioned a focus on the three Rs – reporting, risk management and return – in an effort to help unlock the private financial flows that are vital to the transition. Whereas increasing the quantity and quality of reporting is essential to driving a whole economy transition, stress tests allow banks to understand which of their borrowers are ready for the transition to a green economy, and which ones will struggle. Following suite, returns enable investors to make informed decisions on whether companies and portfolios are transition ready.

The UK-Italy COP26 presidency would be building on existing work and networks to build a large coalition of asset owners and managers who expect their portfolio companies to become net-zero aligned. Examples of such networks include the Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance, Climate Action 100+, and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

The event was generally well-received with some labelling it as a clear call to action for the finance industry. The event is perhaps the first time a COP host government has fully recognised the critical role finance has to play in climate action, and sought to prioritise its contribution. While Carney’s speech and associated strategy overview document lay out some steps to move forward, the clock is ticking. Private finance may have gotten its very own COP26 agenda in driving a whole economy transition, but there is still plenty of work to be done on the road to Glasgow.

Cover photo taken by Dr Richenda Connell.
Why we should be wary of blaming ‘overpopulation’ for the climate crisis

Why we should be wary of blaming ‘overpopulation’ for the climate crisis

By Heather Alberro, Nottingham Trent University

The annual World Economic Forum in Davos brought together representatives from government and business to deliberate how to solve the worsening climate and ecological crisis. The meeting came just as devastating bush fires were abating in Australia. These fires are thought to have killed up to one billion animals and generated a new wave of climate refugees. Yet, as with the COP25 climate talks in Madrid, a sense of urgency, ambition and consensus on what to do next were largely absent in Davos.

But an important debate did surface – that is, the question of who, or what, is to blame for the crisis. Famed primatologist Dr Jane Goodall remarked at the event that human population growth is responsible, and that most environmental problems wouldn’t exist if our numbers were at the levels they were 500 years ago.

This might seem fairly innocuous, but its an argument that has grim implications and is based on a misreading of the underlying causes of the current crises. As these escalate, people must be prepared to challenge and reject the overpopulation argument.

At Davos #WEF2020, @algore starts screaming about the urgency of controlling the climate: “This is Thermopylae! .. This is the Battle of the Bulge! This is Dunkirk! This is 9/11!”

Embedded video

Jane Goodall @ Davos: “All these [environmental] things we talk about wouldn’t be a problem if there was the size of population that there was 500 years ago.”

The world population 500 years ago is estimated between 420 and 540 million — 6.7 billion fewer people than today.

Embedded video

A dangerous distraction

Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb and Donella Meadows’ The Limits to Growth in the late 1960s and early 1970s ignited concerns over the world’s burgeoning human population, and its consequences for natural resources.

The idea that there were simply too many people being born – most of them in the developing world where population growth rates had started to take off – filtered into the arguments of radical environmental groups such as Earth First! Certain factions within the group became notorious for remarks about extreme hunger in regions with burgeoning populations such as Africa – which, though regrettable, could confer environmental benefits through a reduction in human numbers.

In reality, the global human population is not increasing exponentially, but is in fact slowing and predicted to stabilise at around 11 billion by 2100. More importantly, focusing on human numbers obscures the true driver of many of our ecological woes. That is, the waste and inequality generated by modern capitalism and its focus on endless growth and profit accumulation.

The industrial revolution that first married economic growth with burning fossil fuels occurred in 18th-century Britain. The explosion of economic activity that marked the post-war period known as the “Great Acceleration” caused emissions to soar, and it largely took place in the Global North. That’s why richer countries such as the US and UK, which industrialised earlier, bear a bigger burden of responsibility for historical emissions.

The high-carbon consumption habits of the world’s richest people are more to blame for the climate crisis than population growth in poor regions. Artem Ermilov/Shutterstock

In 2018 the planet’s top emitters – North America and China – accounted for nearly half of global CO₂ emissions. In fact, the comparatively high rates of consumption in these regions generate so much more CO₂ than their counterparts in low-income countries that an additional three to four billion people in the latter would hardly make a dent on global emissions.

There’s also the disproportionate impact of corporations to consider. It is suggested that just 20 fossil fuel companies have contributed to one-third of all modern CO₂ emissions, despite industry executives knowing about the science of climate change as early as 1977.

Inequalities in power, wealth and access to resources – not mere numbers – are key drivers of environmental degradation. The consumption of the world’s wealthiest 10% produces up to 50% of the planet’s consumption-based CO₂ emissions, while the poorest half of humanity contributes only 10%. With a mere 26 billionaires now in possession of more wealth than half the world, this trend is likely to continue.

Issues of ecological and social justice cannot be separated from one another. Blaming human population growth – often in poorer regions – risks fuelling a racist backlash and displaces blame from the powerful industries that continue to pollute the atmosphere. Developing regions in Africa, Asia and Latin America often bear the brunt of climate and ecological catastrophes, despite having contributed the least to them.

The problem is extreme inequality, the excessive consumption of the world’s ultra-rich, and a system that prioritises profits over social and ecological well-being. This is where where we should be devoting our attention.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Cover photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash
Financing adaptation actions: takeaways from Rockaway, New York

Financing adaptation actions: takeaways from Rockaway, New York

By Acclimatise News

I recently attended a presentation about adaptation actions at the individual and community scale in Rockaway, New York – a peninsula that is directly exposed to the Atlantic.

According to the presenter, only a small percentage of Rockaway residents have begun to take adaptation actions either at the individual or community scale. The obstacles include; a lack of understanding among residents regarding future flood risks, available adaptation options and their costs and benefits, and constrained resources.

Most of the discussion focused around the need for awareness raising, suggesting that if residents had better information, they may make more informed decisions. Interestingly, the presenter revealed that 80% of homeowners rebuilt their homes after Sandy in the same way they were before. Of course, this offers no additional resiliency benefits should a Sandy-scale storm, or worse, sweep through the region again. Why would they do this?

Yet, as the presentation continued, ‘lack of awareness’ and a ‘lack of understanding of future flood risks’ struck me as a moot point when the cost data was presented.

The presenter compared the benefits of several adaptation strategies, including the cost of raising a home, calculate based on future flood damage expenditure compared to the cost of those strategies. The present value of damages over the next 30 years depends critically on the elevation of the lowest floor of the house. According to data, the mean present value of raising a home from 0 to 0.5 meters costs $729,045.00 and the additional cost of raising a home to 1 meter would add up to a total of $804,1000.

The presenter emphasized that the potential losses to homeowners from another Sandy could be over $2 million, 2.5 times more than the required investment of raising a house, thereby creating a strong business case for home raising. Yet, regardless of the potential magnitude of losses, $729,045.00 is prohibitively expensive for the average homeowner, particularly in working-class neighborhoods where median household income is $51,249.00. Furthermore, how can you motivate individuals to borrow or spend that amount of money when there is uncertainty as to how climate impacts will play out?

The presenter also argued that reduced insurance premiums would help recoup some of the costs of home raising. Yet, to what extent could a reduced insurance premium offset an investment of more than three quarters of a million dollars?

Interestingly, while there was a lot of discussion about costs of adaptation options, there was little discussion of how to finance them. While FEMA does provide post-disaster relief, homeowners have complained that it can take years for funding to be distributed and that funding won’t be reimbursed for costs already spent on construction. In other words, you can’t raise your home post-disaster and then be reimbursed for it after the fact. This doesn’t incentivise homeowners to build back better.

I took two things away from this presentation. One, that individuals’ decision-making is likely strongly dictated by finances, and two, that adaptation options must reflect the present reality. Proposing adaptation actions in regions where the vast majority of people don’t have the resources to implement them with limited government resources to support them, may not be useful or equitable. Adaptation is urgently required at all scales, yet not all technically viable adaptation solutions will work in every context.

Cover image from the FEMA Photo Library, Wikimedia Commons