Category: COP25

Art in the Blue Zone

Art in the Blue Zone

An interview with the 2019 COAL prize winners for a speculative futuristic short film about climate displacement.

The year is 2071. A white middle class family from the global north, somewhere in Europe, has been displaced by a climate-induced event. This could be an extreme event like a hurricane or flood, a slow onset event like sea-level rise or some combination of both, yet to be determined. There is a mass exodus from this European country, which is now uninhabitable, and families are migrating to countries in the global south to re-settle. The well-established migration routes that were common 50+ years ago (e.g. in 2020 and prior) are now inverted with the global north experiencing erratic and hostile climate impacts. Uganda is also contending with its own climate challenges. However, the country has maintained a very open-door refugee policy for decades allowing climate-displaced families from the global north to re-settle in its boundaries. The European family resettles in Uganda.

This is the premise of a speculative futuristic short film by Lena Dobrowolska and Teo Ormond-Skeaping, awarded the 2019 COAL prize for portraying the links between climate, disaster, and displacement. Lena and Teo presented the trailer of their short film during an interactive session at the 2019 Madrid COP conference, where they discussed the premise of the film with the audience. Following the screening, I was left with many questions and inquired with the filmmakers to gain further insight into their thought-provoking film.

Interview with Lena and Teo, the creators of the documentary short, “You never know. One day you too may be become a Refugee.”

Q: Tell me about the commentary that this film is trying to make.

The film is intended to highlight how important it is to extend generosity and love to those who have been displaced. In a future where climate change (even at 1.5 C degrees of warming) is anticipated to displace more people; more often; mobility will play an important role in helping people to adapt and continue to fulfill their aspirations. While most people in the next decade will move within their nation’s boundaries, some will have to cross borders such as those who hail from low-lying islands. If in the future the Global North is increasingly divided by walls and militarized border lines, we are going to continue to compound the victimhood (which our emissions have imposed) on those who are most vulnerable to climate change impacts.

In our film we are working with queer theory to recast the migrant narrative with white middle class protagonists and to invert the North-South power dynamic. We do so as a way of highlighting how nations in the Global South like Uganda are actually leading the way in the implementation of liberal refugee policies, have healthier cultures of migration, and presently host more refugees than nations in the Global North.

The recasting of the migrant narrative has been devised to draw attention to the vulnerability of those in the Global North who do not currently consider themselves vulnerable to climate change, how migration has been negatively portrayed, and how movement could be better facilitated. The film is not intended to scare people, but to encourage viewers to explore how migration could be made more bearable and also to see migration as an adaptation strategy. It is also intended to encourage viewers to extend greater empathy to those (predominantly black and brown people from the Global South) who have no choice but to migrate by bringing the issue closer to home. We will do this by showing how our fictional family, unwelcomed by neighboring countries in the Global North, is hosted with generosity and compassion in the Global South.

By inverting the North-South power dynamic and by portraying a future scenario in which nations in the Global South have been able to develop via carbon neutral development pathways following climate reparations to no growth economies, we wish to highlight what must be achieved through climate justice and how this act of remission could create a healthier global culture of kinship and fluid mobility. 

Q : In your film, do you envision that the Global South (e.g. Uganda, or whichever country you focus on) has taken great measures over the past 50 years to increase adaptive capacity (which is why the displaced Europeans are heading there) or is the driver because they can’t stay where they are, and Uganda (or other Global South country) is accepting of climate-displaced persons? In other words, is the draw of Uganda that is it more resilient, that it welcomes displaced persons, or some combination of both?

And if the draw is adaptive capacity – what did the Global South do effectively in bolstering adaptive capacity (e.g. indigenous knowledge, community adaptation, etc.)? Conversely, did the north follow business-as-usual until collapse?

A: This is where our idea gets complicated and perhaps involves a little bit of world warping and scenarios thinking. We are still working on this but here is what we have got so far:

The Global North and the Global South are not just places in our film but two very different future scenarios which our family travel between. The Global North represents a worst case 3-6°C of warming; business as usual; catastrophic future scenario full of techno fixes, authoritarian governance, and disastrous events. The Global South represents an aspirational ≤1.5 degrees of warming future scenario that was made possible by Climate Justice and ambitious NDC’s in which global equality is balanced.

Our fictional families passage from the North to the South, from the bad scenario to the good, will be determined by the decisions that a group of negotiators (who we will also portray) are making at COP26 in 2020. At the beginning of our film (as in reality) the climate talks are blocked by key nations from the Global North and so the future scenario in which the family are migrating in is disastrous. But as the film progresses and the climate talks led by negotiators from the Global South near consensus on NDC’s that limit warming to 1.5°C, improved mobility for climate displaced persons, and climate finance for Loss and Damage (Climate Justice), the family’s luck improves, coinciding with their approach to the Global South.   

The ≤1.5°C Global South warming scenario has been achieved through a massive and rapid reduction of emissions and a re-distribution of wealth along with carbon neutral development pathways, and no growth economies. To achieve this scenario Global South nations have used indigenous knowledge and technologies in combination with renewable energy to adapt to 1.5°C impacts and to mitigate and capture their own emissions in transitioning to carbon neutrality. Not only have indigenous knowledge and technologies been used in the Global South, but they have also been applied in the Global North following South-North collaboration. The redistribution of wealth has been achieved through a combination of governments agreeing to finance Loss and Damage and through compensation derived via legal trails that have fined former Big Oil companies and their associates guilty of crimes against humanity and ecocide.

Q: There are still some elements that are yet to be defined in the final version of your film. After showing the film proposal to some audiences (for example at COP25) has it shaped the way you envision the film coming together? If so, how?

Yes, very much so. The film is still very much in the research phase and the opportunity to show the proposal film to an audience of experts at COP25 was invaluable. We had learned that we won the 2019 COAL price only a few days before COP25 – so the film proposal went from being a pie in the sky idea to a tangible project that needed to be completed by COP26 in November 2020! Having only just realised what a powerful network of people and organisations we had tapped into by winning the award and partially securing the funding for the film, we were quite literally thrown into the deep end! Here we were presenting the project in front of the Task Force on Displacement, UNFCCC negotiators, heads of UN organisations like the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and International Organization for Migration (IOM) and many other talented researchers from the field of climate and displacement. Luckily, the generosity of these experts is boundless and what ensued can best be described as ‘research through conversation’. Starting with some basic questions such as: What might displace our family? In an ideal world what would be done better to support climate induced migrants? Should we use the term Climate Refugee? We started to construct the narrative of what will happen to our family and to explore some of the difficult conceptual and moral questions surrounding climate and migration. Then when the tables turned and we were asked questions by the experts, we were confronted with questions that we will have to grapple with as filmmakers. For example, whether or not audiences will be receptive to another doom and gloom film about climate change, and how do we intend to show the positive impacts of migration.

For us the most impactful aspect of COP25 was what we observed during the informal Loss and Damage negotiations. We were very shocked by how palpable the power dynamic (Structural racism…) between the Global North and the Global South was within the negotiations. A few key nations like the USA and Russia were using cold technical language to delay, obstruct, and reject meaningful progress on Loss and Damage, while the majority (those from the G77, AOSIS and The LDC Group) implored action through impassioned statements and proposals. Without having been in the privileged position of being able to attend those meetings and witness this power play, we would not have written negotiations into our film. As a result, the narrative would have been would have be far simpler and less representative of what is really delaying meaningful action on Climate Change. This is of course a lack of political will in the Global North, a fear of wealth redistribution, and losing geopolitical dominance. We very much hope that “art in the blue zone” – that is artists being able to access UNFCCC’s Conference Of the Parties as UN observers – will become a reality and that other artists will be able to undertake field work at COP as well as contribute to climate and cultural research that will bring forth the paradigm shift that needs to happen to make 1.5°C a reality.

 Lena and Teo expect to premiere their film at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Cover photo from Wikimedia Commons.
Not much COP: UN Climate talks fail to deliver on climate adaptation and resilience

Not much COP: UN Climate talks fail to deliver on climate adaptation and resilience

By Will Bugler

Good COP / Bad COP?

Bad COP. By any reasonable measure this COP failed to deliver at a time where the world expects action. The failure of the negotiating teams to make meaningful progress was compounded by the fact that hundreds of youth climate activists were ejected from the Plenary, in a year when climate activists have done more than anyone to move the climate agenda forward.

The COP began with a sense of foreboding with a last-minute shift in venue to Spain’s capital after Chile’s president Sebastian Piñera announced that his country could no longer host the event due to violent anti-government protests. However, Chile retained the COP presidency and had promised that this was to be an “ambition COP”, one that closed the widening gap between the countries’ current greenhouse gas emissions reduction pledges and what is required to keep global temperatures below 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.

Under banners emblazoned with the hashtag #TimeForAction, delegates largely failed to live up to this promise. The COP ended up going long into extra time after countries failed to reach an agreement on how to proceed in the allotted time. Over the final weekend delegates did manage to pull together a loose agreement on the way forward, but they have left a huge amount of work to do if meaningful progress is to be made before the landmark meeting in Glasgow at the end of 2020.

Dr Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change & Development (ICCCAD) and Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Environment & Development (IIED) was heavily critical of the process at the COP, claiming that the UN process needs to change fundamentally. Speaking just after the conference had concluded, Dr Huq, who has been involved in building negotiating capacity and supporting the engagement of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) at COPs for many years, gave this verdict:

Summary of adaptation-related developments

So, what were the main developments when it came to climate change adaptation at COP25? As in past years, most of it revolved around money. Specifically, how to finance adaptation and how to compensate countries for losses and damages associated with climate change impacts that they bear little responsibility for causing.

  • Share of proceeds: One of the most controversial areas of discussion revolved around what’s known as the ‘share of proceeds’ to fund adaptation. That is deciding what share of the profits from selling carbon offsets should be set aside to help vulnerable countries adapt. The general gist was that developing countries including the African group and “G77 + China” negotiating blocs had this issue marked as a key priority. However, many developed countries are not in favour, saying that money from offsets that is diverted for spending on adaptation effectively represents a transaction tax that would affect trade. The US in particular refused to agree to this, as its position is that tax matters are a no-go area for the UN climate talks. Limited progress was made on this due to these objections. The final agreement contains only voluntary language relating to Article 6.2 (which allows countries to strike bilateral and voluntary agreements to trade carbon units) “strongly encouraging” parties to support adaptation.
  • Loss and damage: The long-running saga on loss and damage continued at COP25, and the issue remained highly controversial. Developing nations are pushing for finance to help compensate them for losses and damages incurred because of climate change impacts, and developed nations, broadly, are highly resistant to this. Negotiators set out to review the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM), which was established in 2013 to deal with the loss and damage issue. Until now, much of the focus has been on building scientific understanding of what proportion of damages might be attributable to climate change. However, as climate-related extreme events (such as hurricanes or wildfires) and ‘slow-onset’ climate change phenomena (such as sea level rise or seasonal changes in weather patterns) are becoming increasingly visible and damaging, developing countries are demanding action. Their demand is for “new and additional” money (separate from other adaptation finance) to help deal with irreversible damage. Developing nations put forward a text for consideration that called for “adequate, easily accessible, scaled up, new and additional, predictable finance, technology and capacity building”. However, this was significantly watered down – specifically omitting language around funding being “new, additional and adequate”, mainly thanks to US pressure and the issue remains unresolved. In an effort to salvage some progress, the EU tried to include loss and damage into the remit of existing mechanisms (specifically the Green Climate Fund). However, this was criticised by some as it will put additional pressure on already underfunded areas of climate finance, and could potentially reduce the amount of money available for adaptation.
  • Long Term Finance and the $100bn goal: The most significant discussions relating to financing mechanisms for climate change adaptation surrounded the climate finance goal and the related issue of long-term climate finance (LTF). The LTF workstream (which monitors progress towards scaling up of climate finance) is due to end in 2020. Most of the functions of the LTF are already replicated under the Paris Agreement, but with the US expected to withdraw from the Agreement, some parties saw merit in extending the LTF. The goal of mobilizing $100 bn annually by 2020 (for both mitigation and adaptation) was also discussed – with questions asked about whether it should be revised or extended. The outcomes of these discussions were unsatisfactory, with negotiators unable to agree even on when they should take a decision on the LTF agenda. This reflects the real concerns that the $100bn target will be missed this year, and points to very tricky negotiations in Glasgow on the issue.
  • The Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF): Little progress was made advancing the guidance documents on the two main mechanisms for delivering climate adaptation finance to developing countries. Discussions were slowed to a virtual standstill by the debate around whether they should be focussing more on loss and damage.
  • Santiago action plan: A bright spot came in the form of the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action. An alliance of 51 finance ministries, the coalition presented its “Santiago action plan” which hopes to integrate climate change into decision-making about economic and financial policies.
  • Gender action plan: If anything can be described as a bright spot at COP25 it was the progress made on deciding a new five-year gender action plan (GAP). The GAP is designed to support gender-related decisions in the UNFCCC process. Despite a shaky start to proceedings, a new GAP was agreed that takes into account human rights, a ‘just transition; and indigenous peoples.
  • Koronivia joint work on agriculture: This three-year programme is due to conclude at COP26 in Glasgow and aims to provide guidelines about farming in the face of climate change. Adaptation plays a large part in these discussions, which cover everything form soil health to crop types. As with so many areas, finance remains the sticking point with developing nations demanding more money to help adapt, and developed nations pushing back. While workshops related to the programme continued in the first half of COP25, actual decisions and recommendations making their way into the final text, were thin on the ground.

A disappointing COP overall then, and one that leaves a considerable amount of work to be done at Glasgow in 2020. Finance will remain a key sticking point, however with the US unlikely to be involved in the talks, it is hoped that more progress can be made.

COP 25 signals public and private sectors coming together to green the financial system

COP 25 signals public and private sectors coming together to green the financial system

By Caroline Fouvet

The work of the financial services sector in addressing climate change was high on the agenda at COP 25 in Madrid this year. Indeed, this December, the 2019 UNFCCC climate negotiations saw multiple side events involving green finance, and one common thread that emerged was the importance of synergies between public sector-led efforts and financial institutions’ (FIs) initiatives to build a sustainable low-carbon and climate resilient financial system.

The impact of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) recommendations is one of the main underlying factors to these common endeavours aimed to tackle climate-related issues. As it stands, several countries are implementing both compulsory and voluntary measures for the financial sector to take into account transition and physical risks, including the UK and France. Launched at COP, the 2019 Investor Briefing of the Global Adaptation & Resilience Investment (GARI) Working Group, to which Acclimatise contributed, urges investors to pay attention to this growing regulatory trend. While there are a number of ways that the public and private sector will have to work together on climate action, the need for standardisation, increasing green bonds, and macroeconomic analysis of climate impacts were in sharp focus at COP25.

A call for standardisation

One of the main reasons FIs are working hand-in-hand with governments on green finance is the need for standards to consistently address climate-related risks and opportunities. The European Union sustainable finance taxonomy was, for instance, referred to in multiple instances during panel discussions and praised as an efficient tool providing clarity as to what constitutes sustainable finance.

Financial regulators present at COP 25 mentioned their work on standardisation and methodologies. The Colombian financial regulator Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia (SFC) issued a mandatory survey to take stock of the country’s financial institutions’ governance, risk management and opportunities consideration practices, in order to identify best practices and provide common definitions. The Bank of England explained that it was currently working with scientists and FIs to develop four standardised scenarios that will be published in the spring 2020 and trialled by members of the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS). The NGFS chair Mr. Frank Elderson also announced that the Network was undertaking detailed technical work on scenarios, stress-testing, environmental assessment methodologies and guidance on integrating environmental risks in supervision.

Increasing green bond growth in developed and developing countries

In the wake of standardisation initiatives, several side events at COP 25 focused on the emergence of green bonds methodologies and the collaboration of governments with FIs to enable their take up. Both developing and developed countries are proactive on the issue, as shown by Nigeria and Ireland. The former issued the first African green bond in 2017 that was successfully subscribed to, thanks to efforts from the Nigerian federal government in giving confidence to investors regarding the green projects the proceeds would be invested into. The country set up the Green Bond Private Public Sector Advisory Group, which brings together capital markets, private corporates, the Government and external development partners to support the green bond programme and enable cross-sectoral dialogue. In Ireland, the government engaged with banks and investors in developing the Irish green bond framework, which underpins the issuance green bonds and use of the proceeds to finance projects that promote Ireland’s transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable economy.

Macroeconomic analysis of climate impacts

Another area for collaboration was the analysis of climate change impacts on the economy, undertaken by Central Banks. A representative of the Central Bank of Costa Rica explained how 2016 hurricane Otto hit the country for the first time and impacted the inflation rate and GDP growth, leading to repercussions on the financial sector. This pushed the Central Bank to undertake analyses from a risk perspective of what climate-related events such as El Nino meant in terms of inflation, and to communicate on this topic to financial stakeholders. The Central Bank of Chile is also involved in analyses of the climate impacts on the macroeconomy.

Financial sector alignment with the Paris Agreement’s mitigation and adaptation objectives continued at COP 25

Each COP provides a platform for dialogues across continents, sectors and institutions. COP 25 reflected this collaborative spirit between FIs and government-led work to green the financial system. Climate action is now an established concept within the financial sector, as evidenced by the conversations at COP 25, which constitutes an essential step in addressing the climate emergency.

Note: COP = Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Cover photo taken by Caroline Fouvet at COP25.
Acclimatise at COP 25: Promoting cities’ resilience to climate change in Latin America

Acclimatise at COP 25: Promoting cities’ resilience to climate change in Latin America

By Caroline Fouvet

Cities’ role in the face of climate change was a recurring topic at COP 25. Given Acclimatise’s track record in working alongside municipalities to foster their climate resilience, Maribel Hernandez was invited to present her insights at a panel discussion convened by CAF, the Latin American development bank, the French Development Agency (AFD) and the European Union through its Latin America Investment Facility initiative.

The side event, entitled “Cities and Climate Change: from baseline and diagnostics to concrete measures for resilient and low-carbon cities”, convened experts who were involved in CAF’s and AFD’s efforts to support cities against climate change, through local climate analyses, prioritisation of low-carbon and resilient actions, and pre-investment studies of projects with climate co-benefits in the urban context.

Maribel Hernandez, who has co-led the development of a zonal climate vulnerability index for the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador, as well as a climate change vulnerability analysis for the Chilean regions of Atacama and O’Higgins, presented her perspective on the importance of such analyses.

Climate risk and vulnerability analyses (CRVAs) are undertaken to identify and assess climate change risks, and relevant bankable adaptation projects that will be implemented under a changing climate. A climate change context entails both obvious but also more hidden risks, and that as a result, CRVAs are necessary to uncover the latter.

An early analysis of climate risks allows to assess project success factors within the context of a changing climate, and to answer questions such as “will the project as it is currently designed operate successfully under a future climate?”, or “will the project result in more operation and maintenance costs than currently envisaged?”. The CRVAs also support having an encompassing view of the project as part of a supply chain in which critical nodes (such as roads and ports) should not be overlooked.

As for projects involving critical infrastructure, long-lived or capital-intensive assets, which are essential for cities’ development, a progressive adaptive management approach is highly recommended. This implies implementing flexible adaptation measures that could be adjusted over time and in response to more data becoming available.

In addition to identifying risks, assessing climate impacts can also lead to the identification of opportunities, linked, for instance, to where resilient investments can be made. Understanding such opportunities strengthens both cities’ climate resilience and development.

With regards to situations when data is scarce and potential solutions to overcome this barrier, the best possible use should be made of the existing information. There exists global and regional observed satellite data and projections data, that can, for instance, provide a useful level of information regardless of whether a location is considered “information-scarce”. Besides, using past information to better understand the future constitutes a way around the lack of data. Finally, stress tests could also be undertaken in the case of scarce information, to assess how the project would perform under different climate scenarios.

In addition, participants stressed the importance of involving local stakeholders that can also contribute substantial knowledge where gaps exist.  This is why engagement with all cities’ actors is an essential component of any climate-related project, which further ensures buy-in of all proposed mitigation and adaptation measures.

This side event, along others organised in Madrid this week, reflects the importance of subnational entities in the fight against climate change. As the “Time for Action” has come, cities are on the frontline to help achieve the Paris Agreement’s low-carbon and climate-resilient objectives, and need to be supported in their endeavour.

Cover photo taken by Caroline Fouvet at COP25.
First time impression of COP

First time impression of COP

By Amanda Rycerz

As a first time attendee of COP, I had a great experience and my initial sense of feeling overwhelmed quickly faded. The IFEMA venue in Madrid, Spain was huge and it took the better part of day one to sort out the lay of the land. There were overly 30 pavilions, spread out over three large halls, in addition to auditoriums and meeting rooms. In fact, on day one I missed an event as I spent the entire duration of the event trying to find the pavilion.

The COP was attended by range of people from youth and students activists to policy makers and dignitaries. The atmosphere was marked by activism (with protests occurring both outside the venue, and inside), business and formal negotiation, education and learning, networking and social interaction. It felt like being in a university where you were free to audit seminars, have coffee with a colleague, work from your laptop in a communal area, and attend an evening reception with a snack and glass of Rioja.

In addition to the official side events, the pavilions hosted their own events. I opted for the approach of surveying each pavilion’s agenda, noting down events of interest and structuring the week’s agenda accordingly. I was only aware of a handful of events before the COP and now there were tons of interesting ones to choose from each day. At the same time many of the events would fall at conflicting times, or take place in the second week when I was no longer there.

Nature-based Solutions were a hot topic this year with events taking place at a range of institutional and country pavilions including; IDB Group, Korea, European Union, International Financial Institutions, France, and more. Acclimatise supported an event at the IDB pavilion focused on scaling private sector uptake of NbS for climate resilient infrastructure. In addition to moderating the IDB event, I attended every NbS event I could find, as well as communications events, indigenous rights and climate change events, and finance events to bolster my understanding on the topic. There were many opportunities for learning and contribution. Many events were highly participatory with the audience contributing more than the speakers or panelists themselves.

The days were long, but energising. I finished my week of COP with a feeling of rejuvenation, interested in following up with contacts I had met and further looking into a topic I had learned about. My only wish would have been to stay longer to make the most of a very interesting conference.

Cover photo taken by Amanda Rycerz.
Lessons learnt on enhancing country ownership through GCF Readiness

Lessons learnt on enhancing country ownership through GCF Readiness

By Caroline Fouvet

The 2019 United Nations gathering on climate change (COP25) was an occasion for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to present its latest developments and activities. The Fund’s Readiness programme, aimed at fostering countries’ capabilities to engage with the Fund, was presented. As a result of the programme, beneficiary countries are able to strengthen their climate finance-related capacity, engage stakeholders in consultative processes, realise direct access to the GCF, access GCF finance, and mobilise the private sector.

Stakeholders directly involved in implementing GCF Readiness spoke about their experience at a GCF side event on 9th December, and how the programme had helped their countries become ready to access climate finance.

A representative from the Kingdom of Tonga’s National Designated Authority (NDA) explained how the country ensured its ownership of the Readiness programme by involving their Ministry of Finance as a delivery partner (DP). As most of GCF DPs are usually international entities, having Tonga’s Ministry of Finance responsible for the management and implementation of GCF Readiness funding constitutes an important achievement for the country’s ownership of the climate finance it receives.

Input from Fundacion Avina, a Latin American philanthropic foundation, focused on lessons learnt from their implementation as a DP of the readiness programme in Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador, and Peru. Securing country ownership of GCF finance often implies enhancing national climate governance, educating stakeholders on climate change and what a suitable project is for the Fund, as well as taking into account a country’s local circumstances.

Finally, the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) shared their experience of implementing Readiness support in Mongolia.  The GGGI representative stressed that the programmes’s objective was, first and foremost, to “help the governments to help themselves”, and that the role of international organisations such as GGGI was to provide technical assistance to government and sub-government entities to directly access climate finance. In Mongolia, GGGI contributed to the set-up of the Mongolia Green Finance Corporation (MGFC), which aims to ultimately blend GCF equity funding with international and Government finance, along with funding from national commercial banks.

On the road to ensuring low-carbon and climate-resilient growth to developing countries, it seems that building their own capacity to access climate finance constitutes the linchpin of country ownership. Programmes such as GCF Readiness empower countries to take control of their own development while ensuring its climate alignment.

Acclimatise has provided capacity building to Belize, Guyana and The Bahamas within the framework of their Readiness activities, and is about to support the second Readiness phase in Belize.

Cover photo provided by Caroline Fouvet of Acclimatise.
PRESS RELEASE: European Commission welcomes the provisional agreement on minimum requirements for water reuse in agriculture

PRESS RELEASE: European Commission welcomes the provisional agreement on minimum requirements for water reuse in agriculture

The new rules, proposed by the European Commission in May 2018, will set out harmonised minimum water quality requirements for the safe reuse of treated urban wastewaters in agricultural irrigation.

Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said: “With this provisional agreement, we are equipping the EU with a powerful tool to tackle some of the challenges posed by climate change. Together with water savings and efficiency measures, the use of reclaimed water in the agriculture sector can play an important part in addressing water stress and drought, while fully guaranteeing the safety of our citizens”.

Currently, the practice of water reuse is established in only few Member States and it is deployed much below its potential. The newly agreed rules will facilitate and stimulate the uptake of this beneficial practice, which can ensure a more predictable supply of clean water for the EU farmers and help them to adapt to climate change and mitigate its impacts. By setting minimum requirements, the new rules will ensure the safety of the practice and increase citizens’ confidence in agricultural produce in the internal EU market. This harmonised approach will also facilitate the smooth functioning of the internal market for agricultural produce and create new business opportunities for operators and technology providers.

Under the new legislation, treated urban wastewaters, which have already undergone certain treatments under the rules of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive, would be subjected to further treatment to meet the new minimum quality parameters and thus become suitable for use in agriculture.

Besides the harmonised minimum requirements, the new legislation also sets out harmonised minimum monitoring requirements; risk management provisions to assess and address potential additional health risks and possible environmental risks; and a permitting procedure and provisions on transparency, whereby key information about any water reuse project would be made publicly available.

Next steps

The provisional agreement now has to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.

Following approval, the Regulation will be published in the EU’s Official Journal and enter into force 20 days later.


The Regulation proposed by the Commission aims to alleviate water scarcity across the EU, in the context of adapting to climate change. It will ensure that treated wastewater intended for agricultural irrigation is safe, protecting citizens and the environment.

The proposal delivers on one of the commitments of the Circular Economy Action Plan, and completes the existing EU legal framework on water and foodstuffs. It also contributes to reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the EU (in particular Goal 6 on water and sanitation), as well as contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Access the full pdf here

Cover photo by Levi Morsy on Unsplash
Acclimatise staff at COP 25

Acclimatise staff at COP 25

Several Acclimatise staff members are in attendance at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) in Madrid this week. Get in touch with these friendly faces if you are there and would like to request a meeting. Follow @Acclimatise on Twitter for more information about their plans. 

Maribel Hernández

Maribel has over 15 years of experience working in climate change adaptation and finance, providing strategic guidance to governmental, multilateral and non-governmental organisations on integrating climate change into their decision-making processes.

Maribel will be at COP25 December 10th-12th.


10/12/19 18:30-22:00 – 4th Annual Climate Resilience and Adaptation Investment Side Event

11/12/19 11:00-12:00 – Cities and Climate Change: from baseline diagnostics to concrete measures for resilient and low carbon cities (Panelist)

11/12/19 14:30-16:00 – Greening the financial market

11/12/19 15:00-16:30 – GCF-1: Raising Ambition, Empowering Action

11/12/19 – 16:45-18:15 – Aligning Financial Systems with the Paris Agreement – The Pathway to 1.5C

12/12/19 – 13:15-14:45 – Nature-based Solutions-Mangrove Conservation and Zero Deforestation Agricultural Production as Cases

12/12/19 – 15:00-16:30 – Breaking new ground: Advancing Loss and Damage governance and finance mechanisms

12/12/19 – 16:45-18:15 – Global Climate Change Policy

Contact Maribel at

Caroline Fouvet

Caroline has over four years of experience in sustainable development and climate change. At Acclimatise, she is a climate finance analyst assisting countries to build their national climate finance capacities, secure accreditation to international funds, and develop project concepts and projects for investment.

Caroline will be at COP25 December 9th-11th.

Contact Caroline at

Amanda Rycerz

Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Amanda supports Acclimatise’s clients on projects related to climate services, nature-based solutions and communications. Amanda has supported various communications consultancies for clients, including C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and The Rockefeller Foundation (ACCCRN).

Amanda will be at COP25 December 4th-6th.


04/12/19 18:00-20:00 – Scaling Private Sector Uptake of Nature-Based Solutions for Climate Resilient Infrastructure (Panelist)

05/12/19 10:30-12:00 – Community Climate Action: From Global to Local Restoration

05/12/19 16:45-18:25 – Nature-based adaptation to climate change in cities

Contact Amanda at

Cover photo by John Englart on Flickr.
Climate risk stress test for banks and insurers in France to begin next year

Climate risk stress test for banks and insurers in France to begin next year

By Will Bugler

Banks and insurance companies in France will undergo climate risk stress tests to ensure they are adequately managing their exposure to both the transition risks and physical risks of climate change. Speaking just before the start of COP25 in Madrid, France’s central bank governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau announced that France’s financial regulator would begin the tests from next year.

Banks and insurance companies in France have been required by law to disclose climate risks for over three years. “We will run climate stress tests for French banks and insurance next year,” Villeroy told a green finance conference in Paris. “This will be very important progress in order to assess the kind of climate risks that are already nascent in banks and insurers’ balance sheets”.

The financial services industry has come under increasing pressure to understand and manage its climate risk exposure. In 2015, the Bank of England Financial Stability Board’s Taskforce on Climate Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) released recommendations to encourage the banking sector to manage its climate risk.

The financial sector has responded by beginning to grapple with its climate risk exposure. Last year for example, sixteen leading banks, UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and Acclimatise, published new methodologies that help banks understand how the physical risks and opportunities of a changing climate might affect their loan portfolios.

The methodologies, published in the report “Navigating a new climate”, were piloted across three climate-sensitive industry sectors: agriculture, energy and real estate. Using the methodologies, banks can begin to assess physical climate risks in their loan portfolios, evaluating the impacts on key credit risk metrics – Probability of Default (PD) and Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratios. The forward-looking assessments offer longer-term insights that go beyond the usual stress-testing horizon of 2-3 years.

The move by France’s financial regulator comes on the back of similar moves from other countries. The Bank of England said in October it would stress test the financial system under various climate “pathways” and the European Central Bank said earlier this month it was also considering it. Last month, Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, warned major corporations that they have two years to agree rules for reporting climate risks before global regulators devise their own and make them compulsory.

Download a copy of Navigating a New Climate here.

Cover photo from Flickr by The Jacques Delors Institute