Posts tagged " climate change "

ecca day2

Reporting from ECCA 2017, Day 2

June 7th, 2017 Posted by Blogs No Comment yet

In the opening plenary of the 3rd European Climate Change Adaptation (ECCA) Conference, it was stressed that young people must be at the heart of climate change. When it comes to the most pressing environmental issue, we are the key stakeholder and part of our role at 2050 is communicating this to other young people. During this conference, members of our Operational Teams and Board will be attending sessions of interest and will use the 2050 blog as a space to report back on what they’ve learned and how young people can get involved.  


On Wednesday, the 2050 Climate Group was out in full force with attendance from Rebecca DeVivo, Sam Curran, Lowri Walker, Katy Syme and David Townsend (Board) and Kate Chambers and Bente Klein (Operational Team Members).

Pictured L to R Sam Curran, Lowri Walker, Bente Klein, David Macpherson(2050 Alumnus), Rebecca DeVivo, Kate Chambers and Katy Syme

Opening Plenary, Notes provided by Sam Curran

Today is innovation day! This is an opportunity to hear from those small business and start ups that want to help overcome those challenges that climate change keeps throwing at us (we’ll cover the Innovation Day in a separate blog).

We kicked off the day with a panel discussion with Baroness Brown (Chair of UK adaptation committee) and Claus Kondrup (Head of EC Adaptation) among others.

Baroness Brown took to the podium first to talk about the approach that is being taken in the UK, well England at least, as the environment is a devolved power in Scotland. We are still working our how we need to adapt, the data isn’t completely clear, and we rely on professional judgement to a large degree. 

Climate change is here and happening now. We are not yet seeing the action required in this area. We are already seeing the risks to health and wellbeing due to increased temperatures – especially in our cities. We need to adapt our buildings now as they are here to stay. 

We need to stop locking in problems. We are about to build tens of thousands of homes and buildings on flood plains. It took us 15 years to plan and build the Thames barrier. If we are to safeguard the country by 2050 we need to start planning and building right now! If it takes this long to build resilient societies then it is absolutely critical that today’s youth are right at the heart of the decision making.

We need to stop the reduction of our green spaces. Although in slightly better news apparently home owners have stopped paving over their gardens. Keep on gardening folks!

Adaptation is much newer than mitigation. At the EU it really only became a thing in 2014.  The commission is planning an public consultation at the end of October. This will allow people to shape the future EU policy on climate change adaptation policy. Young people, 2050 Climate Group – let’s make sure our voices are heard!

No mention of the Donald and his pulling out of the Paris agreement. Hopefully this is a sign that the UK and EU know that they can’t rely on anyone else.


Adaptation cultures: Knowledge, values and practice

Sam and Rebecca attended this morning session. Notes provided by Rebecca.

In this session, we heard from three different researchers exploring the links between culture and climate change adaptation studies and practices. The researchers suggest that adaptation is strongly linked to its social and cultural environment both as practice and policy.

Over the last 30-50 years there has been an intensification of communication and knowledge exchange, which has led to a global constellation of cultures. When it comes to climate change adaptation, how far do we need standardisation or how far do we need to design for local particularities? In the first talk, Dr. Thorsten Heimann from Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space looked at how societies deal with climate change risk. Based on his research, he found that in 4 different European countries climate change was being discussed in completely different ways. This is primarily due to the different values, beliefs and identities each culture has. (This wasn’t news to me, but was really interesting to here it in practice in relation to flooding. (On a side note, I’d highly recommend reading How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate by Andrew Hoffmann)) 

In this research, culture was defined as shared knowledge and practices. In relation to climate change, a climate change culture also exists. This culture can be defined as shared knowledge of vulnerability, shared resilience practices (adaptation or mitigation).

One interesting thing Thorsten mentioned was the fact that the reason for more climate sceptics in Poland relates to the large number of conservatives and the history of the country and reliance on coal mining. The main take home from this session was understanding that having different values, beliefs and identity means that there will be different approaches to tackling climate change! It’s important to acknowledge this and not rely on one size fits all solutions.


Food security and supply chain resilience under a changing climate, Notes provided by Kate

This sessions was a series of presentations and panel discussion showing four different perspectives on the challenges facing our global food systems under climate change. Richard Tiffin provided an economic overview of agriculture, and how extreme ‘shocks’ could impact. Richard emphasised the importance of collaborations and sharing of data, to help us understand a very complex food system that no-one currently understands! 

All speakers stressed the importance of long-term, systematic thinking around complex food security issues. There is a need for experts to share data, and for policy makers and scientists not to be reductionist with this information. There was also a recurring message around the power of the consumer – food systems are partly dependent on consumer demand. The supermarkets are pushing growers and farmers for ‘perfection’ because of this expectation.


Discussing Coherence: from national adaptation planning to achieving global adaptation and sustainable development, Notes provided by Bente Klein

The goal of this session was to discuss how the reporting obligations and adaptation planning in the Paris Agreement, Sendai Framework and the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).

One suggested way forward is that each and every country needs to set a baseline for itself. Every country needs to say that this is my desired level of resilience, depending on the national circumstances they can then be assessed quantitatively or qualitatively. Then it is up to the countries to agree what needs support or not. Coherence is desirable to ease any reporting burden on developing countries, as reporting on three different conventions puts a lot of stress on these countries. Next to spending a lot of time to find the right indicators, it should be questioned whether it is not more useful to spend time working on qualitative assessment. Further discussion included Loss & Damage.


How climate services can enable successful urban adaptation, Notes provided by Katy Syme

Five academics presented their research projects on climate services which have helped other organisations with urban adaptation.

Amsterdam University of Life sciences presented on a project to help the Dutch government reach their 2020 goal to have all streets that are being constructed or reconstructed to be climate resilient. This is needed to encourage adaptation (not a current priority). They developed 10 example typologies with different resilient options versus ‘traditional’ design, including 100 year costed designs for building, maintenance, and the cost of flooding. Adaptation approaches included lowering streets to allow for water storage, and green infrastructure. For a similar cost, a climate ready alternative can be retrofitted in most situations. They have produced a free online book containing the typologies and adaptation examples. They also considered the value of the different examples (eg health benefits of greening)

Angela Connelly (University of Manchester) produced flood disadvantage map for pilot areas in Scotland. They mapped socio-spatial vulnerability, including vulnerability of place. This is an open web-GIS tool, like the ClimateJust (JRF funded) project. There is a focus on co-production measures in the development of the mapping and using maps to help start conversations with disparate groups / sectors.


Stay tuned for the final day where Board Member and previous Chair of 2050 Climate Group, Elizabeth Dirth, will be presenting at the closing plenary!

Please note, we are keen to try and report daily and as such, these reports may be brief. It’s possible that we might elaborate on some of the learned topics in future blogs. 


About ECCA 2017 (taken from website)

“The theme of ECCA 2017 is ‘Our Climate Ready Future’. Our vision is that this conference will inspire and enable people to work together to discover and deliver positive climate adaptation solutions that can strengthen society, revitalise local economies and enhance the environment. We are bringing together the people who will deliver action on the ground – from business, industry, NGOs, local government and communities – to share knowledge, ideas and experience with leading researchers and policymakers.”

Full Programme

Reporting from ECCA 2017, Day 1

Reporting from ECCA 2017, Day 3

ecca reporting

Reporting from ECCA 2017, Day 1

June 6th, 2017 Posted by Blogs No Comment yet

In the opening plenary of the 3rd European Climate Change Adaptation (ECCA) Conference, it was stressed that young people must be at the heart of climate change. When it comes to the most pressing environmental issue, we are the key stakeholder and part of our role at 2050 is communicating this to other young people. During this conference, members of our Operational Teams and Board will be attending sessions of interest and will use the 2050 blog as a space to report back on what they’ve learned and how young people can get involved.  


On Tuesday 6 June, Policy Subgroup member, Bente Klein reports back…

Opening Plenary

This third year of the ECCA is unique because businesses are now involved and there is a full business day (Tuesday), as well as an innovation day (prize money up to £20,000 I believe) tomorrow. It was pointed out multiple times that there is a need to build alliances with businesses, hence the importance of their presence. Further, the importance of young people was stressed by the rep of the European Commission and Roseanna Cunningham MSP who even mentioned 2050. The youth voice during the opening plenary came from Joel Meekison from the Scottish Youth Parliament. He reported that in a recent survey by Scottish Youth Parliament,  only 10% of the young people surveyed regard climate change as the number 1 environmental concern we should be working on. Others found e.g. litter much more important. It was mentioned that young people need to be able to participate in a systematic way and not just on an ad hoc basis or to tick the boxes. Further, because young people are such a diverse group, with consequently a diverse view on climate change, this should be catered for. How can we (young people & the 2050 Climate Group) ensure that businesses, politicians, key influencers work with us to ‘make the planet great again’? (a key message that was repeated multiple times in the plenary).


4.1 Adaptation Governance

This session looked at the way in which different levels of government interact with each other when it comes to adaptation strategies and policies. As climate change is clearly a multi-level governance challenge, there was an expectation that the adaptation to it would also be a part of adaptation strategy (Reinhard Steuer). However, it turns out that in the research conducted by Steuer et al. there was hardly any institutionalised interaction, if at all the interaction was only project based and purely ad hoc. The same applies for the active engagement from the private sector, policy documents do mention its importance but there is a lack on how (Johannes Klein). Case study of Pittsburgh, PA, presented by Kimberley Lucke showed that there was a big focus on the individual and the role they could play. This creates a ‘Climate Conscious Citizen’ but has led to the shifting away from actors that have much more leverage than individuals. It was concluded that because individualism does not produce effective action, serious action is required from those with more leverage. Potentially this applies only to the US and would need further research to see if it could be applicable elsewhere (the researcher seemed to hint that it wouldn’t be applicable elsewhere).

In short, more coordinated multilevel action is needed and there are many opportunities for young people to ensure that the policies among governance levels are streamlined. This will be a massive task, but the example of mitigation (e.g. effort sharing in the EU) will be there to help guide the adaptation policymakers.


6.9 Fostering dialogue and learning on M&E of climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR) policies.

Countries develop M&E (monitoring & evaluation) schemes especially for their reporting requirements under EU and international law, but also to a lesser extent for the national-level legal and admin requirements in place in their country. This applies both to CCA and to DRR. Both fields struggle with the same issues (‘pitfalls’) in their reporting. The main pitfall being that there is no single indicator that is universal, despite many attempts from researchers. If one tries to universalise issues, then there is a great risk that the deeper understanding of the specific context will get lost. Further, despite the desire to work with quantitative data only, one should never forget that there is a specific context and narrative behind these data and it is crucial to understand these as well. Finally, the adaptation progress is often greater than the simple sum of individual interventions. Therefore, the sketching of an overall picture is very difficult. The potential for M&E, on the other hand, in both fields is great. It can mainly be used as a learning tool as well as for accountability reporting.

 

Tomorrow we’ll have more updates!

 

Please note, we are keen to try and report daily and as such, these reports may be brief. It’s possible that we might elaborate on some of the learned topics in future blogs. 


About ECCA 2017 (taken from website)

“The theme of ECCA 2017 is ‘Our Climate Ready Future’. Our vision is that this conference will inspire and enable people to work together to discover and deliver positive climate adaptation solutions that can strengthen society, revitalise local economies and enhance the environment. We are bringing together the people who will deliver action on the ground – from business, industry, NGOs, local government and communities – to share knowledge, ideas and experience with leading researchers and policymakers.”

Full Programme

waiting for climate change isaac cordal sculpture

Climate change isn’t the future, it’s right now

May 18th, 2017 Posted by Blogs No Comment yet

The European Climate Change Adaptation conference comes to Glasgow:

 

“Climate change? We don’t need to worry about that yet. There are more urgent things we need to sort first.” Many of us will have heard this kind of response when raising the issue of climate change. I know I have. And the framing of our climate problem as a long term challenge is often shared by advocates of climate action and those aiming to defend the status quo alike – with the former appealing to our responsibility to future generations and the latter arguing we shouldn’t take action because the future is too uncertain. But the truth is, as many of us know, climate change has already started and its impacts are already ruining people’s lives around the world.

Huge rivers are disappearing in Northern Canada as glaciers recede, roads are melting in India, and even if we stopped all global greenhouse gas emissions tomorrow, those we’ve already released into our atmosphere would continue to drive climate change for many years to come. So, as we continue with efforts to reduce the worst effects of climate change, the question arises: what do we do about the impacts we have already set in motion?

This is the question over 1000 of the world’s top climate experts will be looking to answer as they arrive in Glasgow in June for the European Climate Change Adaptation Conference. The conference title may say ‘European’ but the focus is global, with presenters from forty-eight countries and five continents tackling problems from sinking cities to dangerous heat waves to disruption to the food systems we all rely on. The 2050 Climate Group will be involved too, with 2050 rapporteurs and our former chair, Elizabeth Dirth, joining the closing plenary with the European Commission’s Head of Climate Action, Andrea Tilche, and the New York City Mayor’s Office Special Advisor on Climate Policy and Programs, Lolita Jackson.

You can follow all the action across the five days of the conference (5-9 June) via the hashtag #ECCA2017 and students can still apply for volunteer passes to attend in person, helping Scotland continue to lead the way in effective climate action.

And I’ll be there too. In my role as Information Support Officer for the Adaptation Scotland programme, I’ll be joining colleagues in showcasing the progress Scotland is making to become a climate ready nation. Large-scale initiatives are already underway in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow to ensure Scotland’s population, infrastructure and economy is prepared for the turbulent times that may be ahead and there are lots of opportunities for 2050 young leaders to influence Scotland’s adaptation journey, either as part of your organisations or as active citizens in the places you live. I believe, coupled with the strongest efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, climate change adaptation can be a catalyst to help us build a positive vision of the future: one where we don’t just swap dirty technology for clean (although that’s a great start), but instead change the places we live and work, and our behaviour in them, to follow the grain of natural forces. You can see examples of these kinds of transformations in Adaptation Scotland’s Climate Ready Places website. If you’d like help finding out more about the likely climate impacts on Scotland, how they might affect you or your organisation, and what you can do about it, let me know!

 

Blog contributed by David Macpherson, YLDP 2015-16. Information Support Officer, Sniffer

Contact David: David@sniffer.org.uk

Image: Follow the Leaders. Berlin, Germany. 2011. Isaac Cordal