While financial aid may help the most vulnerable countries adapt to global warming, that is not the main solution. The key is to accept change and be inspired by that belief to work against climate change. (Photo : Gabriel Mistral | Getty Images
Accepting that climate change is happening, and not merely relying on financial support from wealthy nations, is the key for poor countries to survive the effects of climate change, experts say.
Embracing that a different type of climate may alter the way of life could be the big motivating push that the most vulnerable nations need to be able to adapt and respond efficiently to the changing world.
While it is important to have lots of financial resources to support technologies and start projects to combat climate change, that is not the main solution. Surviving is not about the money, it is about having the willingness to fight climate change early on before things get worse.
Embracing Change, Especially Leaders
The University of Notre Dame has come up with a Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN), which sums up the vulnerability of nations to climate change and other global problems together with their preparedness to boost resilience. According to the index managers, adaptation is rooted in embracing change.
"Many countries are grappling with a hierarchy of needs that puts climate risk close to the bottom," says Joyce Coffee, the managing director of ND-GAIN. The most pronounced challenge in poor countries is to tackle poverty and its effects on things that matter the most, like health.
Coffee says this acceptance of change will not be realized within a nation unless the leaders do so themselves.
Coffee cites the situation of African nation Ivory Coast as an example. In the said country, cocoa is the main product for export. However, since the plants are very sensitive to temperature changes and takes years to grow, the industry is at the greatest risk of peril because of climate change.
Now, if the government will not help the farmers realize the changes, anticipate the effects and prepare for what is about to come, it will be difficult for those who have managed to get out of poverty to triumph over climate change.
Ivory Coast has made tremendous improvements in solidifying its foundation to help the nation manage climate-related risks. In fact, the nation has ranked better by nearly 20 points in the vulnerability and preparedness list of ND-GAIN involving 192 other countries.
Willingness Of The Wealthy To Help
During the December 2015 Paris conference, which was attended by numerous world leaders, wealthy countries agreed to give away $100 billion through the year 2020 to aid nations that have been identified by the United Nations as the least developed cope with climate change.
The money will be placed in the Green Climate Fund, which collates grants from different rich countries and private firms.
The United States even announced a much more ambitious pledge during that time as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the country is looking at doubling the $430 million it has given out in 2014 over the next four years.
But then again, while these financial aids are significantly beneficial, the most essential first step for efficient adaptation to climate change is acceptance.
Global Index Results
The ND-GAIN uses 25 years' worth of data to rank 192 nations every year on their readiness to tackle risks made more severe by climate change. The index specifically looks at factors such as food insecurity, insufficient infrastructure, overcrowding and civil clashes.
The top five countries considered to be the most vulnerable and least ready to handle climate change are Eritrea, Chad, the Central African Republic, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
On the other end of the spectrum, New Zealand, Norway, Denmark, the United Kingdom and Germany round up the top five least vulnerable nations. These nations ideally will support their neighbors in terms of finances.
Worthy to mention are the countries that have improved their rankings. These nations include the Philippines, Poland, Mongolia, Laos, Russia and the Solomon Islands, among others. These countries are said to have improved their sanitation, agricultural efficiency and availability of potable water, while reducing slum areas and childhood malnutrition.
Climate Change: Taking A Toll On Human Health
On April 4, the White House released a new report, which details what climate change means for public health and families.
The report explains the different health consequences that humans may have to suffer as climate continues to change. Among these health woes are allergies and asthma due to air pollution, premature deaths due to extreme heat, earlier occurrence of Lyme disease due to warm winters and spring, water-related medical conditions and increased exposure to toxins.
Originally published by Lonnie Shekhtman on www.csmonitor.com
How will poor countries, in many cases the most vulnerable to climate change, respond and adapt to a changing world?
That's one of the biggest questions lingering after the Paris climate agreement succeeded in mobilizing 195 nations around reducing their emissions to prevent a warmer world.
According to a global index managed by the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, the five countries most vulnerable and least prepared to deal with climate change are Eritrea, Chad, Central African Republic, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Using 25 years of data, Notre Dame’s global adaptation index ranks 192 countries annually on their preparedness for risks exacerbated by climate change, such as overcrowding, food insecurity, inadequate infrastructure, and civil conflicts.
One of the big accomplishments at December's Conference of Parties climate talksin Paris was getting wealthy nations to agree to provide $100 billion through 2020 to help the least developed countries, as defined by the United Nations, adapt to a changing climate. The money will flow through a Green Climate Fund, which is a combination of grants from wealthy countries, such as the United States (ranked #11), and investments from private companies.
“We will not leave the most vulnerable nations among us to weather the storms alone,” US Secretary of State John Kerry told a packed news conference in Paris, after announcing that the US plans to double the $430 million in grants it gave out in 2014 over the next four years, to help vulnerable countries adapt to the risks of a changing climate, reported the Financial Times.
Logistical stumbling blocks must still be worked out, such as ensuring that countries contribute the money they promised and that receiving countriesspend the money wisely.
But the people behind the index say one of the keys for adapting to a new world for vulnerable countries is not about money at all; it’s about acknowledging that a different climate will change things.
“Many countries are grappling with a hierarchy of needs that puts climate risk close to the bottom,” says Joyce Coffee, managing director of the index, in an interview with The Christian Science Monitor. The biggest needs in the least developed countries revolve around managing widespread poverty and its effects on things like health and corruption, she says.
“While I believe very strongly that solutions to climate come from within a country,” she says, “they won’t come until leaders embrace the changes that are coming.”
One example of where embracing change makes a difference, said Ms. Coffee, is in the west African country of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). Cocoa, its major export, is at great risk from climate change, since the plant is sensitive to temperature changes and takes years to grow.
“If the federal government isn’t helping farmers see changes and anticipate and prepare for them,” she says, “they’re making it hard for those who have emerged from poverty to get a leg up in a climate change world.”
Over the last five years, Cote d’Ivoire has made enormous headway in building a strong foundation to help the country deal with climate-related risks, according to the index. The country has climbed nearly 20 pointshigher in the vulnerability and preparedness rankings to #131 out of 192 countries.
Other countries that have improved in the rankings are Laos, Georgia, The Philippines, Russia, Poland, Rwanda, Mongolia, Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. Researchers say they have each improved their economies and other basics necessary to deal with new challenges from a changing climate, which include increasing sanitation, agricultural capacity, and access to drinking water, while decreasing slum populations and child malnutrition.
The countries most vulnerable to climate change are among the poorest and least able to respond. How to resolve that dilemma and help these places adapt to a warming world remains among the knottiest problems facing climate financing.
Originally published by Obi Anyadike on www.irinnews.org
The good news is that identifying those most in need – step one – is now a good deal easier thanks to a global league table developed by the University of Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN) measures a country’s vulnerability in relation to its ability to cope with climate change.
It calculates exposure to climate stress (for example a reliance on agriculture); sensitivity to the impact of climate shocks; and adaptive capacity. It then scores a country’s readiness – defining that in terms of a willingness to leverage its economic, governance and social resources to reduce climate risk.
According to the index, the world’s five worst performers are Eritrea, Chad, Central African Republic, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. By comparison, the over-achievers – and you'd guess at least a couple of them – are New Zealand, Norway, Denmark, the United Kingdom and Germany, in that order.
Hooray for Paris
One of the important outcomes of the Paris climate summit in December was the recognition that reducing greenhouse gasses is not enough. Adaptation – how to live with a warming world – is now also accepted as key, and there is a greater realisation that poorer countries will need support to help achieve that.
Paris affirmed the financing target of $100 billion a year from public and private sources by 2020. A game-changer could also be the Green Climate Fund, which will devote 50 percent of all its funding to adaptation, which has historically been overshadowed by spending on mitigation projects like renewable energy.
“Paris was wonderful, but what’s really important now is what happens on the ground,” said Koko Warner, of the United Nations University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security. “The true yardstick of success is in these highly vulnerable countries.”
Money alone will not be enough to build climate security. “The question of access [to financing] is not a simple answer as it concerns multiple challenges including technical capacity to develop bankable proposals, [tackle the] knowledge and capacity gaps, and provide access to resources needed to do the necessary feasibility studies,” Barbara Buchner of the Climate Policy Initiative said in an emailed response.
“We need to find ways to increase the absorptive capacity of countries that need the funding the most, and harmonise investment standards, transparency and governance issues,” noted Warner. “We need more nuance on how to deliver financing to really help the poor, to unravel the knots around climate impact and livelihoods.”
That needs to happen quickly, because the estimates are that the true climate bill will be in the trillions rather than billions of dollars – especially if the world cannot keep below two degrees Celsius of global warming agreed in Paris.
“We know that public resources in all countries are stretched, and that $100 billion will not satisfy the needs on the ground,” said Buchner. “It is therefore essential that the $100 billion be spent wisely. If we can do this, much more private investment will flow.”
The ND-GAIN index is more than a ranking system. Its purpose is "to help businesses and the public sector better prioritise investments for a more efficient response to the immediate global challenges ahead,” explained Joyce Coffee, ND-GAIN managing director.
"The private sector is looking for projects where it can make money," she added. "They won't be investing in countries with poor governance records, or social structures that are completely confusing to them." That, she suggested, will be left to multinational funding mechanisms like the Green Climate Fund.
There is no reliable data on the scale of private investment flowing to adaptation projects. But, said Buchner, “private investment will be key” and therefore “domestic policy signals are critically important because all investors want to see impact, and value for money.”
Improving the “bankability" of projects involves quantifying and enumerating risk, and allowing the market to track progress, said Coffee. The private sector won't suddenly pivot to adaptation, but we should make it "more tempting".
A business case is easily made for the mega alternative energy initiatives – from solar to wind – sprouting across the globe. But adaptation tends to be more granular and local rather than immediately transformational.
“Tons to learn”
Warner acknowledges there is “tons to learn” – but if public policy managers can “set the incentives, the private sector will respond”.
While corporates may well hesitate to invest in the most vulnerable countries, “it is important to remember that households and families [in these countries] are also private investors,” said Buchner.
Developing projects that help them access affordable, clean energy and expand sustainable agriculture "can support economic development and poverty alleviation as well as climate change,” she added.
There is a gulf between genuine, community-appropriate adaptation projects and private sector "green- washing" – good old-fashioned PR spin. Coffee cited a Coca-Cola initiative in an unnamed country to improve the water sources where it bottles as a positive example that had a benefit “beyond its fence line”.
She also pointed to a mining firm investing in Mali that built a hospital as part of its adaptation efforts. Yes, improving healthcare is a form of adaptation, but she acknowledged a sense of queasiness over that particular deal – with its hint of contract sweetening.
“But we can't turn our back on investments. We just need to demand more from [the corporates],” she insisted.
Warner agreed, saying the magnitude of investment and the scale-up required to respond to climate change means there is a “significant role for the public and private sector – we just need to get the mix right”.
Photo credit: Alberto Guzman, NASA ARC-CREST
This chart by ChartsBin.com shows the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index by Country.
The ND-GAIN Index is a navigation tool that helps corporate and development leaders manage risks exacerbated by climate change such as over-crowding, food insecurity, inadequate infrastructure and civil conflicts. The Index shows a country's level of vulnerability, and the readiness of a country to successfully implement adaptation solutions. The tool is free and open-source.
The Index defines vulnerability as exposure and sensitivity to climate, population, infrastructure and resource stress, as well as the country's adaptive capacity to those stresses.The Index defines readiness by social, governance and economic factors.
In this new role, Regan will lead academic scholarship around ND-GAIN by amplifying faculty engagement in climate adaptation, identifying funding opportunities to enhance the University’s climate research capacity, directing scholarly output and products, as well as other responsibilities to promote the shared goals of ND-ECI and ND-GAIN.
“The idea that human social adaptation reflects a potential intervention between the scarcities driven by climate change and the outcomes of those climate stressors provides new areas in which the social and the physical sciences interact to influence various outcomes from armed conflict to crop yields,” Regan said. “Working with ND-GAIN provides an opportunity to explore new ideas and help facilitate interactions across disciplines and colleges.”
Regan is a Professor of Political Science and Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. His primary research has focused on the role of external actors in managing armed conflict. He studies how interventions shape conflict, paying particular attention to the interaction between military interventions and diplomatic mediation in civil wars. Regan is also exploring the conditions under which water scarcity driven by climate changes influences the likelihood of observing armed conflict. A key part of this research involves the role of social adaptation to the climate stressors.
He is the author of four books, The Politics of Global Climate Change (Paradigm, 2014), Sixteen Million One: Understanding Civil War (Paradigm, 2010), Civil Wars and Foreign Powers (Michigan, 2000), and Organizing Societies for War (Praeger, 1994).
Regan was most recently (fall 2015) a visiting scholar at China’s Sichuan University’s Center on Ecology, Environment and Sustainability and a Fulbright research fellow at the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, Norway. He was also the 2013 president of the Peace Science Society.
“We are thrilled to have Pat join ECI leadership through his new role at ND-GAIN and welcome him aboard,” said Jennifer Tank, ECI director. “It’s an exciting time as Pat’s research expertise brings added breadth to our scholarship around climate change.”
Newswise — As Paris climate talks enter the final frenzied hours, Joyce Coffee, managing director of the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN), points out that business is neglected in the agreement. She says…
“In the 28 page draft, the private sector is mentioned 11 times, mostly as it relates to access to capital. And while carbon pricing is mentioned a few times, along with euphemisms for international emissions trading, the document is likely to remain silent on the word ‘market’ through its finalization.”
On the other hand, good progress on both national commitments and an international agreement is being made.
“Although the most zealous climate mitigators continue to call for a 1.5 degree Celsius target (versus the two degree target that COP21 ostensibly called for), this may not be in climate mitigators best interest,” says Coffee.
“A ‘not bad’ – or the two degree target – outcome will be less likely to die upon return to each national government. Thus, ironically, those who want to kill the Paris Agreement may also be want this ambitious outcome, which would no doubt die upon return to Washington, New Delhi and other climate-agreement tenuous capitals.”
ND-GAIN is the world’s leading global adaptation index and aims to unlock global adaptation solutions that save lives and improve livelihoods while strengthening market positions in the private sector and policy decisions in the public sector. Measuring not only vulnerability but also the readiness to take on investment, it informs strategic, operational and reputational decisions regarding supply chains, capital projects and community engagements. The index includes 20 years of data across 46 indicators for 180 countries.
Originally published by Napoleon Navarro at www.phnompenhpost.com
Reducing carbon pollution is just the tip of the iceberg.
Originally published at www.yaleclimateconnections.org
There are many benefits to climate action. Some are obvious. For example, improving stormwater drainage can prevent flooding. But other benefits may not be as apparent, such as improving water quality at the same time. Clean energy is another example.
COFFEE: “One of the really wonderful things about renewable energy is that it’s providing many more people with access to electricity around the globe. And we know that electricity access has huge benefits for everything from health care to education.”
That’s Joyce Coffee, a board member of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals. While switching from fossil fuels to clean energy will reduce global-warming carbon pollution, it will also improve air quality and cause fewer cases of asthma. Coffee says there are many such examples.
COFFEE: “By adaptation and resilience planning and implementation, we can lift more out of poverty, strengthen economies, even buttress food security, protecting natural resources. There’s a huge amount of opportunity to ensure a brighter future for generations to come.”
Coffee says it’s important to include these additional benefits when calculating the costs and benefits of climate action.
NOTE: Joyce Coffee is managing director of ND-Global Adaptation Index, ND-GAIN.