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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

On Leave. . .

I'm currently trying to adapt to having a newborn at home, so postings will be light over the next few weeks.

Spooks for Climate Change

Last month, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency announced it was creating a "Center on Climate Change and National Security." Though reportedly a small operation, the announcement is an indication that the issue of climate change and security is getting a serious look at relatively high levels. Perhaps more importantly, it suggests that security challenges are being framed in new ways, with a greater appreciation for complexity, indirect effects and feedbacks.

According to the agency's press release:

"[The Center's] charter is not the science of climate change, but the national security impact of phenomena such as desertification, rising sea levels, population shifts, and heightened competition for natural resources. The Center will provide support to American policymakers as they negotiate, implement, and verify international agreements on environmental issues. That is something the CIA has done for years."

New Reports from the ADB

Climate Change and Impacts on Agriculture in Asia and the Pacific

The ADB-sponsored agriculture sector study, carried out by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), uses predictions of global climate models to develop scenarios to 2050 for Asia and to derive implications for food security. The study recommends cost-effective adaptation responses that could build greater climate resilience into the agriculture sector in Asia and the Pacific.

Climate Change and Migration in Asia and the Pacific

Climate change will influence patterns of migration and human settlements-increasing migration in already highly populated areas in Asia and the Pacific. The climate change and migration study was drafted in cooperation with researchers at the University of Adelaide.The draft study discusses how climate change is likely to influence population displacement, migration and settlement patterns and examines how this will impact development in five sub-regions of Asia and the Pacific.

A New Framework for Funding Climate Adaptation?

OXFAM UK has prepared a briefing paper on financing climate adaptation in developing nations. In short, the brief calls for a framework built around fulfillment of the developed world pledge of providing development assistance equivalent to 0.7% of GDP as well as at least an additional US$50 billion in funding per year. At present, it doesn't appear that either goal is likely to be met in the near future. The paper also argues that existing funding arrangements are complex, uncoordinated and inefficient and, ultimately, the success of international efforts on greenhouse gas mitigation are dependent upon resolving these short-comings to ensure developing nations have a secure access to financing to address adaptation challenges.

Climate Change in Google Earth

As an awareness raising exercise ahead of December's COP meeting in Copenhagen, global climate change scenarios from the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report are now available as .kmz map layers for use in Google Earth.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Policy Guidance: Integrating Adaptation into Development

The OECD has released a report entitled, Integrating Climate Change Adaptation into Development Co-operation: Policy Guidance. It's not entirely clear what one more report on this subject will accomplish, but I guess it can't hurt. . .

"The negative impacts of climate change will hit poor people and poor countries disproportionately, and further compromise the achievement of their development objectives. Integrating Climate Change Adaptation into Development Co-operation provides essential information and advice on how to facilitate the integration of adaptation into development processes. The objectives of this policy guidance are to: i) promote understanding of the implications of climate change on development practice and the associated need to mainstream climate adaptation in development co-operation agencies and partner countries; ii) identify appropriate approaches for integrating climate change adaptation into development policies at national, sectoral and project levels and in urban and rural contexts; and iii) identify practical ways for donors to support developing country partners in their efforts to reduce their vulnerability to climate variability and climate change. While efforts to integrate climate change adaptation will be led by developing country partners, international donors have a critical role to play in supporting such efforts."

New Studies on Adaptation Costs

The past week as seen two new studies related to the costs of adaptation in the developing world. The first is the World Bank's Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change Study which is argued to be the most up-to-date and comprehensive assessment of adaptation costs. The study estimates that adaptation costs in the developing world will be on the order of US$75 to $100 billion per year between 2010 and 2050, assuming two degrees of warming (with the range reflecting different assumptions about changes in rainfall). Granted, the costs in the developed world will likely far exceed those for the developing world, but in any case, no one has yet determined how any nation, much less the international community, will cover these costs.

The second study is the latest release from the International Food Policy Research Institute and addresses climate change impacts and adaptation in the agriculture sector. Climate Change: Impacts on Agriculture and Adaptation Costs projects significant declines in irrigated and non-irrigated crops in the developing world, particularly South Asia. These impacts will result in an increase in child malnutrition by up to 20% by 2050. To avoid this outcome, significant investments on the order of US$7 billion annually are needed to offset the adverse impacts of climate change on malnutrition.