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IDF report identifies how barriers to global risk understanding can be overcome

IDF report identifies how barriers to global risk understanding can be overcome

Latest IDF White Paper ‘The Development Impact of Risk Analytics’ demonstrates the importance of risk insight as a foundation for sustainable development, and how access to risk understanding can – and should – be accelerated.

LONDON 20 October, 2020: The Insurance Development Forum (IDF), a partnership led by the insurance industry and supported by the UN, World Bank, NGOs and other international organisations, is calling for an international collaboration to share and propagate capabilities in disaster risk understanding where it is needed the most.

This call to action is the message of the IDF’s latest white paper – The Development Impact of Risk Analytics – a truly cross-sector report bringing together risk expertise from more than 30 organisations across private sector, development agencies and specialists, academia and international NGOs. The paper demonstrates how the adoption of open risk modelling principles and frameworks can help countries and cities integrate invaluable local knowledge with global research, and most importantly develop their own view of risk for strategic risk management and operational risk finance.

The report assesses the powerful contribution of risk quantification in the context of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and how the use of open risk analytics principles and platforms can overcome cost and other barriers to access, while increasing confidence in the analysis. This empowering capability is critical as vulnerable economies seek to build social, environmental and financial resilience in the face of increased climate risk, pandemic and other threats.

Specific country case studies build the case for local empowerment through building national and city risk functions. A deeply evidence driven chapter describes the distinct experience of women and girls in disasters, and how gender considerations can – and must – be integrated in the process of understanding and managing risk.

Providing compelling evidence from all sectors and from across the globe, the paper recommends that the way to accelerate risk understanding at scale is through public, private and academic collaborations, made possible through shared use of open source platforms and data standards. The private sector has developed risk understanding as a survival skill and stands ready to work with sovereign ministries, development partners and humanitarians in strategic risk prevention, residual risk transfer and anticipatory action. Critically, this will build a shared language of risk across providers and users of risk capital.

Between them, the expert contributors identify that disasters and climate risk are intensifying, and their impacts – as we have seen recently with COVID-19 – are a global concern. As the authors suggest, to better prepare for these scenarios we need to move from managing disasters to managing the risk itself.

Nick Moody, the paper’s editor and member of the IDF’s Risk Modelling Steering Group, said:

“Our subjective personal experience and observations will always be a factor in complex decision-making, and we all know that no model will ever be completely correct. However the practice of integrating local and global research and openly sharing assumptions reduces uncertainty and, frankly, fear. It builds the confidence so essential for attracting investment in resilience. This means that risk understanding should not be the privilege of the few.

The good news is that the methodologies, research sources and open source technology already exist; primarily we need to solve the problem of distribution; we need to make risk knowledge accessible where it is needed the most. We hope this paper fuels the conversation and leads to an SDG focussed public-private programme applying open source principles and standards, where risk analytics can become accessible as a strategic resource to all nations and cities at risk.”

Jan Kellett, Special Advisor, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Finance Sector, said:

“Development is about empowerment; risk owners are understandably keen to move from aid dependency to sustainable local capacity, capable of responding to the differentiated needs of communities, genders and vulnerable groups.

However it is hard for a nation or city to achieve this while barriers remain to building local risk understanding, and to integration of local experience and research. Governments and cities increasingly need to integrate strategic risk thinking into their resilience planning and financing frameworks, but to do so they need accessible tools and methodologies.

The re/insurance sector can bring significant risk modelling and risk management expertise to help unlock sustainable investment. This paper shows how cross-sector collaboration, open standards and enabling technology can harness these strengths for public good and economic development.”

Katherine Miles, advisor to the InsuResilience Gender Working Group, said:

“This report relates compelling evidence that women and men face different climate and disaster risks and vulnerabilities. People centred metrics are crucial to accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. To ensure risk prevention and resilience programmes are gender-responsive, the report shows the value of gender-information and sex-disaggregated data.

Empowering more women in technical and leadership positions will be key to generate and apply these insights: from national climate and disaster risk planning to the design, implementation and regulation of all types of risk transfer mechanisms.”

Access the report here.


About the IDF

The IDF is a public/private partnership led by the insurance industry and supported by international organisations. The IDF was first announced at the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP21) Paris Climate summit in 2015 and was officially launched by leaders of the United Nations, the World Bank and the insurance industry in 2016.

www.insdevforum.org

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Cover photo by DFID, Climate Visuals.
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.

https://iddrr.undrr.org/
Stanford researchers identify ‘landfalling droughts’ that originate over ocean

Stanford researchers identify ‘landfalling droughts’ that originate over ocean

By Danielle Torrent Tucker

Meteorologists track hurricanes over the oceans, forecasting where and when landfall might occur so residents can prepare for a disaster before it strikes. What if they could do the same thing for droughts?

Stanford scientists have now shown that may be possible in some instances – the researchers have identified a new kind of “landfalling drought” that can potentially be predicted before it impacts people and ecosystems on land. They found that these droughts, which form over the ocean and then migrate landward, can cause larger and drier conditions than droughts that occur solely over the land. Of all the droughts affecting land areas worldwide from 1981 to 2018, roughly one in six were landfalling droughts, according to the study published Sept. 21 in Water Resources Research.

“We normally don’t think about droughts over the ocean – it may even sound counterintuitive. But just as overland, there can be times where large regions in the ocean experience less rainfall than normal,” said lead author Julio Herrera-Estrada, a research collaborator with Water in the West who conducted research for the study while he was a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth). “Finding that some droughts start offshore will hopefully motivate conversations about the benefits of monitoring and forecasting droughts beyond the continents.”

Droughts can harm or destroy crops, as well as impact water supplies, electricity generation, trade and ecosystem health. Historically, droughts have displaced millions of people and cost billions of dollars. Yet the climate processes that lead to drought are not fully understood, making accurate predictions difficult.

In order to pinpoint the large-scale landfalling droughts that originated over the ocean, the researchers used an object tracking algorithm to identify and follow clusters of moisture deficits all over the world, going back decades in time. They found that the landfalling droughts grew about three times as fast as land-only droughts, and usually took several months to reach a continent.

“Not all of the droughts that cause damage to humans and ecosystems are going to be these landfalling droughts,” said study senior author and climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh, the Kara J. Foundation Professor at Stanford Earth. “But there is something about the droughts that start over the ocean that makes them more likely to turn into large, intense events.”

The researchers analyzed the physical processes of landfalling droughts in western North America, where a high frequency of them occur. They found that droughts that make landfall in the region have been associated with certain atmospheric pressure patterns that reduce moisture, similar to the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” pattern that was one of the primary causes of the 2012-2017 California Drought.

The authors state that further analyses may reveal similar or new explanations for the landfalling droughts that they identified in other areas of the world, including Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and Eastern Australia.

“Our paper shows that landfalling droughts are a global phenomenon that affects every continent,” Herrera-Estrada said. “There will definitely be a need for other studies to focus more on the physical processes relevant for each individual region.”

Because of the large humanitarian and economic impacts of severe droughts, the potential for forecasting landfalling droughts may warrant further investigation, according to the researchers.

“This is an important finding because these landfalling droughts are statistically likely to be larger and more severe relative to non-landfalling droughts,” said Diffenbaugh, who is also the Kimmelman Family Senior Fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. “Because they usually take a number of months to migrate onto land, there is a potential that tracking moisture deficits over the ocean could provide advance warning to help protect against at least some of the most severe droughts.”


Read the original press release here.
Cover photo by Anton Ivanchenko on Unsplash
Wilder shores of science yield new ideas on climate

Wilder shores of science yield new ideas on climate

By Tim Radford

New ideas on climate mean earthquake scientists know more about global heating and astronomers worry over rising warmth.

Science has extended research into the global heating crisis, thanks to new ideas on climate. And, conversely, climate change has extended science in unexpected ways.

Seismologists believe they may have a new way to take the temperature of the world’s oceans. And astronomers focused on distant galaxies have unwittingly amassed a 30-year record of climate change in the Earth’s own atmosphere.

Both discoveries, in the same week, start with the simple physics of sight and sound. US and Chinese researchers report in the journal Science that records from submarine earthquakes could now deliver an unexpected way of measuring the warmth of the water.

Submarine earthquakes create a pattern of sound that can be transmitted immense distances through the ocean without much weakening. And, since the speed of sound in water increases as the temperature of the water rises, the length of time the sound takes to reach detector equipment is itself an indicator of ocean temperature.

Seismologists know – from waves travelling through the Earth’s crust and its deep interior – when and where the earthquakes happen. Seismic waves sprint through rock at rates measured in kilometres per second. Sound waves propagate through oceans at rates measured in kilometres per hour.

“It is of prime importance that astronomy uses its unique perspective to claim this simple fact: there is no planet B”

Just as the differences between the speed of lightning and the speed of thunder can establish the distance of an electrical storm, so if researchers know the time and distance of the sea floor event, they have a way of taking the temperature of the water. The constant rumbling of a living planet could offer a new set of easily assembled readings.

“The key is that we use repeating earthquakes – earthquakes that happen again and again in the same place,” said Wenbo Wu, of the California Institute of Technology, who led the Science study.

“We’re looking at earthquakes that occur off Sumatra in Indonesia, and we measure when they arrive in the central Indian Ocean. It takes about half an hour for them to travel that distance, with water temperature causing about one tenth of a second difference. It’s a very small fractional change, but we can measure it.”

The finding matters because – although humans have been recording local ground and air temperatures for at least 300 years, and worldwide for more than a century – it is much harder to be sure about ocean temperatures: the seas cover 70% of the planet, to an average depth of more than 3 kms, and the temperatures vary with both depth and latitude.

Sound goes deep

Oceanographic research is costly, technically challenging, and uneven. Researchers know that the oceans are responding to climate change driven by global heating as a consequence of greenhouse gas emissions: they do not, however, yet have an assured measure of how much heat the oceans have absorbed, and will go on absorbing.

“The ocean plays a role in the rate that the climate is changing,” said Jörn Callies of Caltech, a co-author. “The ocean is the main reservoir of energy in the climate system, and the deep ocean in particular is important to monitor. One advantage of our method is that the sound waves sample depths below 2,000 metres where there are very few conventional measurements.”

Paradoxically, astronomers need to know a great deal about the first few thousand metres of planet Earth as they peer into the furthest reaches of the universe: what they see and how well they see it is affected by atmospheric temperature, turbulence and moisture.

As ground-based telescopes become bigger and more sensitive – the Extremely Large Telescope now under construction at Paranal in northern Chile will collect light with a mirror 39 metres across – so do the challenges of eliminating the atmospheric turbulence that puts the twinkle in the stars of the night sky: cold air and warm air refract light differently, to create a blur. The bigger the telescope, the greater will be the problem of blur.

For three decades, scientists in the highest and driest part of Chile have been recording subtle and not so subtle atmospheric change. And according to the journal Nature Astronomy, climate change is already beginning to affect astronomical research, and will go on creating problems.

Terrestrial disturbances

“The data showed a 1.5°C increase in near-ground temperature over the last four decades at the Paranal Observatory,” said Susanne Crewell of the University of Cologne. “This is slightly higher than the worldwide average of 1°C since the pre-industrial age.”

Average wind speeds – wind also affects the precision of observations – have increased by 3 or 4 metres per second in the same period. Humidity, too, is expected to change as the world moves to what could be a 4°C average rise in temperature by the century’s end.

The message is that conditions on Earth can disturb the observations and mask the understanding of events billions of light years away and billions of years ago. Astronomers, too, need to sound the alarm about climate change, she and her colleagues write.

“To do so, a massive cultural shift is needed,” they conclude, “and it is of prime importance that astronomy uses its unique perspective to claim this simple fact: there is no planet B.” – Climate News Network


This article was originally posted on The Climate News Network.
Image: By Y. Beletsky (LCO)/ESO, via Wikimedia Commons
New Documentary explores the COVD-19 and climate change nexus

New Documentary explores the COVD-19 and climate change nexus

On Thursday, 10th of September, a new documentary was issued on S4C looking at the effects of the current COVID-19 pandemic on the environment. Hosted by Daf Wyn and Steffan Griffiths, the documentary interviewed experts in their field to gain insights into the nexus, including Professor Emeritus Huw Cathan Davies, an Atmospheric Physicist at the Institute for Atmosphere and Climate Science at ETH University, Zurich. Also interviewed was our very own Climate Risk Analyst, Erin Owain, who spoke about various green recovery packages presented by Governments in response to COVID-19. Additionally, Erin spoke about supply chain disruptions and the need to build resilient business models, in conjunction with tackling social and economic inequality in the context of climate justice.

The documentary is available with English subtitles until the 9th of October.

View it here.

Launch of “Charting a New Climate: State-of-the-art tools and data for banks to assess credit risks and opportunities from physical climate change impacts”

Launch of “Charting a New Climate: State-of-the-art tools and data for banks to assess credit risks and opportunities from physical climate change impacts”

8 September 2020 – UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) has released a report on physical climate risks and opportunities from Phase II of its Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Banking Program with climate risk advisory and analytics firm, Acclimatise. The report, “Charting a New Climate”, provides a state-of-the-art blueprint to support financial institutions to navigate the changing physical climate risk landscape.

For banks, investors and financial institutions the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the widespread consequences of systemic, global risks. As such, the financial sector has continued to recognize the importance of responding effectively to climate risks and seizing opportunities. More firms than ever before are disclosing their climate risks and opportunities under the TCFD framework. At the same time, regulators and investors are demanding greater transparency on the way climate change will impact future business operations.

The TCFD Phase II banking pilot engaged thirty-nine global financial institutions on six continents. The program empowered participants to identify, assess, and manage their climate risks and opportunities. Participating banks were led through a series of modules designed to expand their physical risk and opportunities toolkits. Other climate experts were consulted throughout the program including analytics providers and leading climate scientists.

Phase II of UNEP FI’s Banking Pilot began in 2019 and builds upon the outcomes and findings of Phase I. The Phase I Pilot involved 16 commercial banks and developed initial methodologies for undertaking forward-looking scenario-based assessments of climate risks and opportunities in loan portfolios, in line with the TCFD recommendations. For physical risks and opportunities, it culminated in the publication of “Navigating a New Climate” in 2018.

The new report, “Charting a New Climate”, provides financial institutions with a state-of-the-art blueprint for evaluating physical risks and opportunities. Complete with case studies from participating banks, the report investigates leading practices for five critical topics related to physical risks and opportunities:

  1. Extreme events data and data portals – reviewed examples of climate and climate-related extreme events data and portals from both public (free to use) and commercial data providers[1].
  2. Portfolio physical risk heatmapping – recognized the benefits of examining total portfolio exposure and identifying where higher physical risks may lie before moving on to ‘deep-dive’ assessments of at-risk portfolio segments.
  3. Tools for physical risk assessment of financial risk – aimed to improve banks’ understanding of commercially-available tools and analytics, as well as training the Phase II banks to use the Phase I Excel-based methodologies.
  4. Physical risk correlation analysis of finance institution portfolios – was developed as banks recognized the value of having a deeper understanding of observed relationships between loan performance metrics and climate-related events.
  5. Analysis of opportunities driven by physical climate risk – aimed to provide insights into the climatic, business, policy and market-led drivers of physical risk-related opportunities.

The TCFD provides a useful framework for assessing and reporting on physical risks and opportunities; “Charting a New Climate” gives firms an expanded toolbox with which to approach this important work. Despite the tangible benefits to participating institutions, the insights contained within the report are also relevant for organisations across the finance sector. The toolkit developed in Phase II provides a comprehensive way for organisations to consider their physical risks and opportunities and move from assessment to action.

Charting a New Climate” marks the beginning, not the end, of the journey for financial institutions looking to holistically consider physical impacts. Banks need to continue to improve the external and internal streams they rely on for climate data about their borrowers. Tool providers will increasingly need to consider the interaction effects of simultaneous hazards in a warming world and the complex cause-effect chains linking those hazards to investment performance. Governance and risk management functions will need to integrate climate into their existing policies. The banking sector has a major role to play in implementation of the Paris Agreement by mobilizing financial flows to deliver adaptation and climate resilience.

For media enquiries and a copy of the embargoed report, please contact Mustafa Chaudhry on Mustafa.chaudhry@un.org

Download “Charting a New Climate” here.

Excerpts from Charting a New Climate

  • The Phase II pilot aimed to provide active guidance to banks on some of the pressing challenges in assessing physical risks and opportunities, focused on key methodological issues highlighted in Phase I. It took as its starting point the ‘future directions’ identified in the final chapter of the Phase I report, which identified key challenges and proposed ways forward to begin to address them. It aimed to deepen and improve upon the Phase I methodologies. This Phase II report therefore provides richer technical guidance, and more information on resources available to assess physical risks and opportunities than its Phase I forerunner.
  • Case Study from [Redacted]: Physical risk analytics are not homogenous between vendors even for listed companies, while there are particular challenges in assessing physical risks for SMEs due to a lack of data on those companies. Scenarios are not granular enough and not all the hazards are integrated. Overall, there is still a lot of room for improvement in the information area. Key areas of improvement we would wish to see from physical risk analytical tools include greater flexibility, accuracy and easy management of massive volumes of information (e.g. retail mortgages).
  • Previous correlation studies show that storm surges, wildfires, sea level rise, inland flooding, drought, and other hazards are already impacting financial portfolios. This is because globally significant climate models such as El Niño and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation drive extreme weather, physical risks, and related socio-economic impacts. By discovering opposing associations (such as floods in one region coinciding with droughts in another) it may eventually be possible for portfolio managers to hedge against such physical risks.
  • Physical climate change impacts are often considered as a risk management challenge. What is missing is a recognition of the banking sector’s critical role in the implementation of the Paris Agreement by mobilizing financial flows to deliver adaptation and resilience. It is essential that banks assess and explore the opportunities to provide finance within their markets and to their counterparties. The opportunities framework has been designed to enable banks to explore how they can align their strategic and operational activities with the Paris Agreement and play a major role in the mobilization of private sector finance towards adaptation. This chapter explores several key drivers which will influence the demand for finance from counterparties as they respond the impacts of a changing climate.
  • Physical risk correlation analysis of FI portfolios – was developed as banks recognized the value of having a deeper understanding of observed relationships between loan performance metrics and climate-related events. Some banks have reported that borrowers are already being affected by climate and weather events, and these effects provide early signals of a changing climate, and empirical evidence which may help to calibrate forward-looking physical climate risk assessments. The module provided a step-by-step process for banks to undertake correlation analysis with a worked example using actual property values for an anonymized coastal city and its neighborhoods in the US. The results revealed neighborhoods and types of house experiencing ‘climate gentrification’ – a term used to describe increases in real estate values in neighborhoods that are more resilient to climate-related threats. The module also summarized recent developments in scientific research on correlation analysis and more sophisticated statistical techniques, based on a review of more than 50 studies investigating flood, drought and wildfire risks within the real estate and agriculture sectors.

Quotes

The Working Group

The Working Group includes the following thirty-nine banks: ABN-AMRO, ABSA, Access Bank, Bank of Ireland, Barclays, BMO, Bradesco, Caixa Bank, CIBC, CIMB, Citibanamex, Credit Suisse, Danske Bank, Deutsche Bank, DNB, EBRD, FirstRand, ING, Intesa Sanpaolo, Itau, KBC, Lloyds, Mizuho, MUFG, NAB, Nat West, Nedbank, NIB, Nomura, Nordea, Rabobank, Santander, Scotia Bank, Shinhan, Standard Bank, Standard Chartered, TD Bank, TSKB and UBS to develop a blueprint for assessing the climate-related physical risks and opportunities for banks’ corporate credit portfolios.

___________________________________________________________________________

About

Acclimatise

Acclimatise is a specialist advisory and analytics company providing world-class expertise in climate change adaptation and risk management. Founded in 2004, their mission is to help clients understand and adapt to climate risk and take advantage of the emerging opportunities that climate change will bring. With offices in the UK, US, India and mainland Europe, Acclimatise has worked in over 60 countries worldwide. Working with financial institutions, national and local governments, multilateral organisations, and major corporations, Acclimatise has been at the forefront of climate change adaptation for over a decade.

UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI)

UNEP FI is a partnership between UNEP and the global financial sector to mobilize private sector finance for sustainable development. UNEP FI works with more than 300 members – banks, insurers, and investors – and over 100 supporting institutions – to help create a financial sector that serves people and planet while delivering positive impacts. UNEP FI aims to inspire, inform and enable financial institutions to improve people’s quality of life without compromising that of future generations. By leveraging the UN’s role, UNEP FI accelerates sustainable finance.


[1] While there are many portals providing data on projected future incremental changes in temperature and precipitation, the Phase I pilot identified a lack of data on future changes in extreme events.

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: https://acclimatise.homerun.co/

WMO issue new warning as earth approaches 1.5˚C

WMO issue new warning as earth approaches 1.5˚C

By Lydia Messling

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

The WMO’s finding is especially concerning as last year they issued a similar forecast which estimated the chance of exceeding 1.5 degrees in five years to be just 10%. This suggests that the world is still failing to tackle climate change with sufficient urgency and casts further doubt on the possibility of hitting the 1.5-degree target. The clear implication of this is that we must prepare for a highly unstable climate in a world where average temperatures are well above the 1.5- and 2-degree temperature targets.

One swallow does not a summer make

So does the latest WMO forecast mean we’ll miss the Paris Agreement’s 1.5-degree target? Whilst still a cause for concern, even if one of the next five years surpassed 1.5 degrees, we would not have breached the Paris Agreement’s target, because this is calculated as a 30-year moving average.

It’s a bit like measuring your running speed. The qualify time for the men’s marathon in the Tokyo Olympics is 2 hours, 11 minutes, and 30 seconds. That’s an average of about 5 minutes per mile. Just because you managed to run a sub-5-minute mile on your morning run does not necessarily mean that you are now ready to go for gold at the Olympics (no matter how much Strava kudos your friends give you). It could have been a fast mile for a number of reasons. Maybe it was downhill, the wind was behind you, or you were only ever running one single mile full pelt before collapsing. To think you could now run that 5-minute mile 25.219 more times, and keep that pace, might seem a bit of a stretch. Instead, in order to establish your long-term trend, you need to compare your averaged speed across a much longer distance, much closer to a marathon length, in order to fairly judge your marathon potential. One mile is not a fair judge.

The same is true here. Whilst there’s a 20% chance we might hit an annual average of 1.5 degrees warmer in the next 5 years, this is quite different to stating that we’ve crossed the threshold of the Paris Agreement, as this threshold is determined by a 30-year average. This is so that the effects of natural variability can be accounted for. For example, 2015 and 2016 were both affected by El Niño, which meant the underlying human-caused warming was amplified. Indeed, the WMO report says that there is only a small chance – 3% – that the next five-year average will exceed 1.5 degrees.

A worrying direction of travel

In 2020, the Arctic is likely to have warmed by more than twice as much as the global mean. There are also still impacts of climate change to be felt between now and 2024. In 2020, many parts of South America, southern Africa, and Australia are likely to be dryer than the recent past. Between now and 2024, high latitude regions and the Sahel are likely to be wetter. Sea-level pressure anomalies suggest that the northern North Atlantic region could have stronger westerly winds, resulting in western Europe experiencing more storms.

A single year that is 1.5 degrees warmer than pre-industrial levels is not enough to surpass the 1.5-degree threshold as described by the Paris Agreement, but it is an indicator that it is within reach. There is still a lot of climate change to be experienced between now and the Paris Agreement target of 1.5 degrees of warming – more than enough to motivate us in ensuring we do not exceed it. However, it remains unlikely that collectively we will act fast enough to reduce our emissions meet the target. At the moment, we are on track for qualifying for a much warmer world, with an unstable climate unlike anything experienced in human history.


Cover photo by ActionVance on Unsplash.
Acclimatise CEO to moderate an EO4SD-led panel discussion as part of the World Bank’s Innovate4Climate virtual conference

Acclimatise CEO to moderate an EO4SD-led panel discussion as part of the World Bank’s Innovate4Climate virtual conference

On 29th July at 10:00 EDT, Acclimatise CEO John Firth will be moderating an EO4SD-led panel discussion as part of the World Bank’s Innovate4Climate virtual conference. This will take stock of the use of Earth Observation (EO) data in climate resilience, and look to the future in regards to what development practitioners will find useful next in terms of EO products and services.

Objectives include:

  • Introduce and encourage the use of earth observation (EO) products and services for the purposes of building climate resilience, particularly in a development setting
  • Catalyse the innovative deployment EO products and services across the project life cycle and across a range of decision-making contexts, from finance mobilisation to monitoring and evaluation
  • Enable our audience to learn about cost-effective EO climate data and platforms, and how these can be accessed and used.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Samantha Burgess (Copernicus Climate Change Service)
  • Francois Kayitakire (African Risk Capacity)
  • Ana Bucher (World Bank Group)

Register for the webinar here.

Acclimatise removes its company page from Facebook

Acclimatise removes its company page from Facebook


Acclimatise has taken the decision to remove its company page from Facebook. It has come to our attention that Facebook has included a loop-hole in its fact-checking program that allows non-expert staff members to overrule the judgement of climate scientists and make climate disinformation ineligible for fact-checking by classifying it as ‘opinion’. This has undermined the credibility of Facebook’s partnership with Science Feedback, to allow trained climate scientists to evaluate the accuracy of viral content.

We believe that Facebook is facilitating the spread of misinformation about climate change, which directly undermines Acclimatise’s mission to make the world more resilient to climate change and its impacts. As a company driven by its values, Acclimatise has a responsibility to take action on issues that cause harm to our staff, our environment and the wider community. 

Facebook’s continued failure to stop the spread of misinformation and hate speech on its platform is also of great concern to us. This inaction fuels racism, violence, and may undermine democracy and the integrity of elections around the world.

We are deeply concerned that the company has named Breitbart News a “trusted news source” and made The Daily Caller a “fact-checker” despite both publications having deplorable values. In view of the dangerous misinformation about climate change and the conflict with our own values, we have decided to sign up to the Stop Hate for Profit campaign.