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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Best Adaptation Plans?

Maria Gallucci, writing for InsideClimate News, has written a piece identifying the six "most extensive" adaptation plans from around the world. The winners include:

1. City of New York
2. London
3. Chicago
4. Rotterdam
5. Quito
6. Durban

PwC Assesses Climate Risk to UK Businesses

As part of the UK Government’s National Adaptation Programme, PwC undertook an assessment of the impacts of climate change overseas on UK trade and investment, food, health and well-being, energy, and foreign policy. The report found that indirect effects of climate change impacts overseas could have a greater impact on the UK than the direct domestic impacts of climate change.
The main threats identified were:
1. Damages to physical and financial assets from extreme weather
2. Increased frequency and urgency of humanitarian assistance
3. increased volatility in food prices; political or policy reactions affecting availability of food supplies, and
4. increased demand for UK Government services by overseas territories and citizens abroad.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Australia's National Adaptation Assessment Framework

The Australian Government has just released the first in what it has indicated will be a series of reports assessing how well-placed the nation is to adapt to the impacts of climate change that cannot be avoided by future greenhouse gas mitigation efforts. The report, Climate Adaptation Outlook, proposes a new assessment framework for the nation to evaluate progress toward meeting adaptation objectives.The framework asks three broad questions:

1. What drivers in society and the economy would promote good adaptation?
2. What activities would we expect to see now if Australia is adapting well?
3. What outcomes do we expect to see from good adaptation?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

$20 Billion for Adaptation in NYC

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the City of New York has commission a new climate change assessment form the New York City Panel on Climate Change and  Mayor Bloomberg has committed to a $19.5 billion plan to increase the resilience of the NYC coast to sea-level rise and storm events - largely through a series of infrastructure projects to harden the coastline.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Climate Smart Agriculture

The FAO has released a Climate-Smart Agriculture Sourcebook. The main purpose of this publication is to further elaborate the concept of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) and demonstrate its potential, as well as limitations. It aims to help decision makers at a number of levels to understand the different options that are available for planning, policies and investments and the practices that are suitable for making different agricultural sectors, landscapes and food systems more climate-smart. The Sourcebook is developed by FAO in collaboration with many partner agencies and individual contributors.

CSA is an approach to developing the technical, policy and investment conditions to achieve sustainable agricultural development for food security under climate change. The magnitude, immediacy and broad scope of the effects of climate change on agricultural systems create a compelling need to ensure comprehensive integration of these effects into national agricultural planning, investments and programs. The CSA approach is designed to identify and operationalize sustainable agricultural development within the explicit parameters of climate change.

The Executive Summary of the publication is available in English, French and Spanish and the entire publication is currently available online in English.

The publication is also available on the joint CSA Partnership portal

Public Health Adaptation Costs

The WHO Regional Office for Europe has prepared an economic analysis tool to support health adaptation planning in European Member States. It is based on a review of the science. It is expected to be applied in Member States mainly by line ministries responsible for climate change adaptation. It provides step-by-step guidance on estimating (a) the costs associated with damage to health due to climate change, (b) the costs for adaptation in various sectors to protect health from climate change and (c) the efficiency of adaptation measures, i.e. the cost of adaptation versus the expected returns, or averted health costs.

The tool consists of a document describing the methods step-by-step and a manual with an Excel spreadsheet, which is a visual aid for calculating costs.

For more information go here.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

$384 Billion Needed for Drinking Water Infrastructure by 2030

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released its fifth Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment. The assessment, which is conducted every four years, outlines the investment needed to maintain safe drinking water for the nation for the coming two decades. The price tag from the current assessment comes in at $384 billion, which is well above (even after accounting for inflation) the estimate from the first assessment in 1997 of $138 billion.

The assessment shows that improvements are primarily needed in:

    · Distribution and transmission: $247.5 billion to replace or refurbish aging or deteriorating lines 
    · Treatment: $72.5 billion to construct, expand or rehabilitate infrastructure to reduce contamination 
    · Storage: $39.5 billion to construct, rehabilitate or cover finished water storage reservoirs
    · Source: $20.5 billion to construct or rehabilitate intake structures, wells and spring collectors
Hence, much of the anticipated cost is associated with upgrading the current infrastructure. While this creates some opportunities for increasing the resilience of that infrastructure by adaptation, given EPA grants only help to cover a small fraction of such costs, and given the current state of the balance sheet, EPA's latest survey may just be an estimate of the adaptation deficit in U.S. water resources management.