Adaptation Online was launched in 2008 as a clearinghouse for climate adaptation information. Submissions and comments are welcome.
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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor in Environmental Management

The University of Queensland is currently recruiting for a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor in Environmental Management , with an emphasis on climate adaptation and/or sustainable development.

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Application deadline is 10 July 2009

NOAA Coastal Adaptation Gateway

For those looking for a useful collection of information on coastal adaptation, the U.S.' Coastal Services Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has an this Internet website dedicated to the issue.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Attribution of Climate Change Consequences

The Global Humanitarian Forum (GHF) has released what will likely prove to be a rather controversial report, entitled Human Impact Report: Climate Change – The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis. The GHF claims the report represents the "first consolidated volume specifically and exclusively which focus on the adverse impacts of the climate change on the human society across the world." While attempting to drive home the current burden of morbidity and mortality associated with climate variability and change, the report appears to stray too far in the direction of complete speculation when it comes to attribution. For example, the Executive Summary states,

"The findings of report indicate that every year climate change leaves over 300,000 people dead, 325 million people seriously affected, and economic losses of US$125 billion. . . . These already alarming figures may prove too conservative."
These damages are based upon the percentage of climate disasters attributable to climate change as well as the percentage of environmental degradation attributable to climate change. Yet there are few (if any) credible estimates of the climate change contribution to any individual climatic event or localised environmental impact. Hence, any estimation of current annual climate change consequences can only be based upon entirely speculative assumptions. My suspicion is that such numbers rely upon the fairly liberal attribution of extreme weather to anthropogenic activity (but I await the posting of the entire report). Yet, as many have made efforts to point out, with rapid growth in the global population, human vulnerability to climate variability alone is likely to rise significantly in the future. The principle challenge is to rapidly increase the capacity of humans to cope with global change (not just climate change). So as an intellectual exercise, there is certainly utility in attempting to address the challenge of detecting and quantifying an anthropogenic signal in global morbidity and mortality statistics. However, the political climate of 2009 means that the advocates on either side of the mitigation debate will be pushing the envelope in order to compel action (or inaction).

Monday, May 25, 2009

Disaster Risk Reduction Report

The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Secretariat has launched a new report on reducing disaster risk in a development context:

"The Report reviews and analyzes disaster frequency, geography and impacts as well as recommends priorities for reducing risks. Its central message is that disaster risk and poverty are strongly linked and are in turn intertwined with the unquestionable reality of global climate change. The Report also shows that the risk of both mortality and economic loss in disasters is highly concentrated in a very small portion of the Earth’s surface. For example, 75% of global flood mortality risk is concentrated in three populous countries: India, China and Bangladesh."

Guidebook for Coastal Adaptation

The United States Agency for International Development has prepared a lengthy guidebook for development planners on coastal adaptation. The report follows a now familiar vulnerability/risk management framework and thus covers much of the same ground as the dozens of other guidebooks that are on the market. Nevertheless, this new one does provide quite focused and detailed coverage for the coastal zone not seen since Emma Tompkins et al's Surviving Climate Change in Small Islands: A Guidebook.

New Review of U.S. Climate Change Impacts

The U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has produced a brief summary of the state of knowledge regarding the potential impacts of climate change on the United States. The report emerges at a convenient time, with climate change legislation currently making its way through Congress. Having been requested by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the report seems clearly designed to be a piece of political ammunition. Although as is customary with CBO reports, it stops short of specific recommendations, it does give some pages to discussing the implications of different energy and emissions futures for climate impacts. Yet the report is rather quiet on the issue of adaptation, stating only that it will be required for some sectors.

Monday, May 18, 2009

NSF Revisits Climate Change Research

The U.S. National Science Foundation has released a report recapping the broad range of climate change research the agency has funded in recent years:

From the report's Introduction:

"NSF investments have played a crucial role in our understanding of Earth’s climate past, present, and potential future. From its inception, NSF has funded the research of climatologists including Charles David Keeling, whose data on increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are considered pivotal early evidence in support of the hypothesis of anthropogenic climate change. NSF funding through the decades has led to many of the most fundamental discoveries and advances in human knowledge about the causes and consequences of global climate change and variability. Paleoclimate records, computational climate models, and economic models of climate change are just some examples of the major contributions of NSF’s investments in this area. In the future, as the world’s human population turns its attention to managing and coping with the effects of climate change, NSF-funded basic research will continue to provide the necessary platform for technological advances, in areas including energy and geoengineering."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Visualising Climate Change

Andy Revkin's blog at the New York Times has an interesting post on efforts to enhance communication around climate change through the use of visualisation tools.

Yorkshire & Humber Climate Change Adaptation

Local Government Yorkshire and Humber has released its regional adaptation study, which is being presented as a comprehensive approach to adaptation planning at the regional scale, from climate projections through to adaptation actions and the removal of barriers to their implementation.

The work follows the 2002 report Warming up the Region, which presented estimates of climate change and impacts based upon the science and information at the time, but didn't go far down the path of discussing adaptation.

The study's website is available here.

The study's summary report is available here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Rudd Delays Emissions Trading

It appears that various pressures have finally forced Australia's Federal Government to relax its time table for the introduction of its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). While, originally scheduled to come on-line in July of 2010, this date has now been pushed back by one year to 2011. Presumably, the government hopes this acquiescence will help the forthcoming legislation survive on the floor of Parliament. This may be a necessary compromise, but it also represents another year of delay in the effort to reduce the nation's GHG emissions.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Research Fellow, Climate Change Adaptation

For those looking for a job in the adaptation arena, Griffith University is seeking a Climate Change Adaptation Research Fellow for its Gold Coast, Queensland campus.

Details here (applications close 8 May, 2009)

Climate Change in Southeast Asia

In April of this year, the Asia Development Bank released a report reviewing the economic implications of climate change in Southeast Asia.

From the report's Foreword:

"The study by the ADB on the economics of climate change for South East Asia is the first regional report on the impacts, vulnerabilities, costs, opportunities and policy options for South East Asia, and, on this regional scale, globally. It is a very welcome contribution for policymakers, businesses, academics and civil society. It increases the national understanding in each country of the challenge of development in the face of a more hostile climate. It provides important perspectives on the regional interdependencies of climate change impacts and policies and thus can help in the pooling of regional resources to address shared challenges; for example, the development of public goods for adaptation (including new technologies, disaster and risk management and water resource management) in the region. This is particularly important, given that the climate is likely to change significantly in South East Asia in the next 20 or 30 years."