Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
"Actions to be completed before 2012:
- Prepare an assessment of climate-related vulnerabilities in local food, water and energy supplies, infrastructure and the public health system.
- Analyze the costs and benefi ts of addressing major vulnerabilities identified in this assessment and prioritize preparation actions.
- Adopt a climate change preparation plan assigning responsibility to
appropriate bureaus or departments to address prioritized actions."
Thus, Portland joins a long list of communities that feel sufficiently confident and informed to start reducing carbon emissions, but yet perceive a significant knowledge deficit must be overcome before adaptation can begin in earnest. One can question, however, whether this is in fact the case. . .
From the Executive Summary:
"The report explores the challenges for directors and their responsibilities to develop resilience in their businesses. Examples of best practice are provided, along with a list of 10 questions to guide directors in the actions they need to undertake to build business resilience to climate change."
Full report available here
Monday, April 20, 2009
There is no shortage of people working in the climate adaptation arena these days, but most of us came to adaptation through other educational and career paths. But with demand for climate-related services increasing rapidly, thought must be given to how the world is going to train up all those people that allegedly will be working in the emerging "green economy." As it happens, one university in Queensland, the University of the Sunshine Coast, has shown a bit of initiative and is the first in the world to offer a Masters in Adaptation. The first crop of candidates graduated on Friday, and represent a new breed of specialist within the growing class of climate professionals. Yet with other universities similarly developing climate specific programs (Australia National University has a Master of Climate Change while the University of Exeter has a Master of Climate Change and Risk Management), it certainly won't be the last.
While an interesting development, one also can question whether such specialist programs are the appropriate way to prepare professionals for managing the risks of climate change. After all, climate adaptation is a pretty expansive discipline (if one can describe it as a discipline in itself). Furthermore, there is wide agreement that for adaptation to be efficient, it should be mainstreamed into existing policies and measures. Hence, one could argue an alternative approach would be to ensure those with more narrow disciplinary skills are capable of incorporating climate change into their work in whatever way it is relevant.
California's City of San Rafael has released its Climate Change Action Plan. At 15 pages, the document is a quick read. Nevertheless, it contains an extensive list of specific actions for both mitigation and adaptation that the city intends to pursue including a number of action items for adaptation (flood and coastal protection, climate vulnerability assessment, tree planting and revegetation). It even goes as far as to highlight how the various actions will be implemented and monitored and identifies what additional actions can be taken at other scales of governance, from state and federal government to private citizens. So as far as plans go, San Rafael appears to have accomplished more than many other cities without wasting energy in producing glossy documents of staggering length.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
The Expert Panel on Adaptation of Forests to Climate Change (an initiative of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests) has just released its report Adaptation of Forests and People to Climate Change – A Global Assessment Report.
From the Executive Summary:
"Greenhouse gas emissions are the main anthropogenic cause of current climate change. The magnitude of future change will be affected by the extent to which these emissions are reduced. Regardless of climate change mitigation activities implemented today or in the near future, however, historical emissions and inertia in the climate system mean that further climate changes are inevitable. Some effects of climate change are already noticeable and there is a need and opportunity to be better prepared for future change. Individuals, societies and institutions should be aware of the impacts that climate change is likely to have and should have strategies in place to adapt to them."
Andy Revkin's blog at the NYTimes.com has an interesting post that contains various perspectives on how scientists communicate about climate risk (particularly placing concerns about climate change in the context of climate variability) and its implications for climate policy:
Debate Over Climate Risks - Natural or Not
By Andrew C. Revkin
"In reporting my news story on a newly revealed pattern of extreme droughts in sub-Saharan Africa, I set off a bit of an e-mail firestorm within a cluster of climate scientists and policy experts." more
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
California's Climate Action Team has released a draft version of its 2009 Biennial Report to the Governor and Legislature. The latest report builds upon prior assessments through two specific advancements: a) development of new climate and sea-level projections; and 2) evaluation of climate change within the context of socio-economic changes such as land-use change, population growth and urbanisation.
The report also makes reference to the Climate Adaptation Strategy (CAS), which is currently under development and scheduled for release by 30 June, 2009:
"The CAS is expected to summarize what we know about current climate change impacts to California, use State agency policy expertise to understand what strategies could be implemented, and to assist in prioritizing near- and long-term actions."
Public comments on the draft report will be accepted until 1 May, 2009.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The World Bank's Development Marketplace is currently accepting applications for its 2009 competitive grant program. The program aims to provide up to $200,000 in funding over two years for 20-25 early-stage adaptation projects in developing nations.
The competition focuses on three sub-themes:
1. Resilience of Indigenous Peoples Communities to Climate Risks [more]
2. Climate Risk Management with Multiple Benefits [more]
3. Climate Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management [more]
More information, including eligibility criteria and deadlines, is available here.
Australia's Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research (a partnership between the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the Bureau of Meteorology) has launched a large recruitment effort to support the new Pacific Climate Change Science Program. A total of 24 positions are currently open. Details here.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
After many years of languishing in the policy backwaters, adaptation is beginning to catch-on in the United States. As discussed by Lauren Morello and Sara Goodman in NYTimes.com, adaptation is now a common feature of legislative proposals being introduced in Congress. The latest draft bill, American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, from Congressmen Henry A. Waxman and Edward J. Markey, includes an entire subtitle (subtitle E) on climate adaptation (but it does come dead last among the various other titles). The subtitle includes a broad range of actvities indlucding the following,
NATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION PROGRAM — The Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Administrator of NOAA, shall establish within NOAA a National Climate Change Adaptation Program for the purpose of increasing the overall effectiveness of Federal climate change adaptation efforts. Under the Program, the Administrator of NOAA shall, in consultation as appropriate with the Council— (1) develop and publish periodic National Assessments under section 464; (2) provide to Federal agencies, local, State, and tribal governments, and nongovernmental stakeholders policy-relevant scientific information, research products, decision tools, and technical support related to climate change impacts and adaptation to such impacts, as provided in section 465; and (3) advise Federal agencies on issues related to climate change impacts and adaptation to such impacts, including through the provision of technical support to Federal agencies in the development of agency climate change adaptation plans as required under section 466.
CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION SERVICES — The Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Administrator of NOAA, shall establish within NOAA a National Climate Service to serve as a clearinghouse to provide State, local, and tribal government decisionmakers with access to regionally and nationally relevant information, data, forecasts, andservices relating to climate change impacts and adaptation to such impacts. The National Climate Service shall— (1) develop and provide access to policy-relevant climate information products, databases, decision tools, and services for Federal, State, local, and tribal government decisionmakers and policymakers; (2) provide technical assistance to Federal, State, local, and tribal government efforts to assess vulnerability to climate change impacts and develop appropriate strategies and plans to reduce such vulnerability; (3) facilitate communication and coordination among Federal, State, local, and tribal stakeholders with regard to climate change information and adaptation strategies; and (4) undertake education and outreach initiatives related to climate change impacts, vulnerabilities, and the application of climate information in decisionmaking.
FEDERAL AGENCY CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION PLANS —Within 1 year after the date of publication of each National Assessment, each Federal agency with representation on the Council shall— (A) complete an agency climate change adaptation plan detailing the agency’s current and projected efforts to address the potential impacts of climate change on matters within the agency’s jurisdiction; and(B) submit such agency climate change adaptation plan to the President for review.
FEDERAL FUNDING FOR STATE, LOCAL, AND TRIBAL ADAPTATION PROJECTS - Not later than2 January 1, 2013, the President shall — (1) directly, or through such Federal agency or agencies as the President may designate, promulgate regulations establishing an integrated program to use funds in the National Climate Change Adaptation Fund to provide financial assistance to State, local, and tribal governments, individually or jointly, for implementation of projects to reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts; and (2) submit such regulations to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and other committees of relevant jurisdiction in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
NATIONAL POLICY ON PUBLIC HEALTH AND CLIMATE CHANGE —to assist the efforts of public health professionals, first responders, States, tribes, municipalities, and local communities to incorporate measures to adapt health systems to address impacts of climate change; (2) to encourage further research, interdisciplinary partnership, and collaboration between stakeholders to understand and monitor the health impacts of climate change, for preparedness activities, and for improvement of health care infrastructure; and (3) to encourage each and every American to learn about the impact of climate change on health
NATURAL RESOURCES CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION POLICY — It is the policy of the Federal Government, in cooperation with State and local governments, tribal organizations, and other interested stakeholders to use all practicable means and measures to assist natural resources to become more resilient and adapt to and withstand the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification.
As reported by Climate-L, some progress was made at the fifth meeting of the Adaptation Fund Board in Bonn:
"During the four-day meeting, the AFB agreed on operational policies and guidelines for parties to access resources from the Adaptation Fund, which are based on the strategic priorities, policies and guidelines of the Adaptation Fund adopted by the fourth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, held in Poznań, Poland, in December 2008. The Board also agreed to establish two committees - on finance and ethics and on projects and programmes - to support the work of the AFB. The committees’ specific terms of reference and their budgets will be considered at
the AFB’s next meeting in June. Some progress was also reported on a process of selecting a host country to confer the AFB with legal capacity so that it can perform its functions with regard to direct access of parties. Finally, the AFB agreed to its meeting schedule in 2009, and its sixth meeting will take place on
15-17 June 2009, at the same venue."
According to Africa Science News.org,
"Plans are at an advanced stage for the establishment of a Global Climate
Change Adaptation Network for Africa to spearhead mitigation of effects of
climate change in the continent."
Check here for more.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
The United Nations has developed an On-line Inventory of UN System Activities on Climate Change, which is accessible through its Climate Change Gateway. The inventory is a searchable data base of UN-related projects and initiatives across six different themes:
- Adaptation Managing climate change risks;
- Capacity Building Investing in people and institutions;
- Financing Funds to spur green economic growth, adaptation and low-carbon development;
- Mitigation Promoting low-carbon development;
- REDD Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation; and
- Technology Transfer of climate-friendly technologies