On September 23, heads of state and leaders in finance, business and civil society will gather in New York City for the United Nations Climate Summit, aimed at jump-starting talks to reach a global climate agreement by December 2015. It's hardly the first time these actors have convened to counter climate change. Here's why this summit is worth watching.
As governments and citizens look for ways to reduce the risks they face from climate change, one option at their disposal is the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process developed under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
To make informed choices on something as complex as climate change policy, it’s important to incorporate scientific evidence into the decision-making process. Yet oftentimes scientific assessments do not reach decision-makers, making it difficult to develop evidenced-based policies that lead to effective action.
The new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—released last night—reveals several findings that decision-makers can keep in mind—both in order to understand current and future climate impacts, as well as develop strategies to help societies become more resilient to them. Here are a few takeaways that can inform the future of climate change adaptation:
Readiness is a hot topic for the newly established Green Climate Fund (GCF), as it heads towards its 6th Board meeting in Bali, Indonesia next week. At the meeting, the Board is expected to make a decision on what the GCF’s readiness program will look like. It will likely be narrow in focus, which makes sense based on its limited funding and timeframe. Yet as the GCF moves forward, it is important to remember countries’ broader readiness needs and to be flexible in finding the right institutions to channel funds in the short term.
by Erin Gray and Arjuna Srinidhi - December 19, 2013
India struggles with water scarcity, a problem that poses especially huge implications for the country’s food security and rural livelihoods. The country has long-battled its scarcity issues through Watershed Development, a participatory approach to improve water management through afforestation and reforestation, sustainable land management, soil and water conservation, water-harvesting infrastructure, and social interventions. But while watershed development has been employed in communities throughout India, its potential long-term costs and benefits have not been well-understood or studied--until now.
A new working paper from WRI and WOTR finds that watershed development has provided more than $9 million dollars’ worth of food security and water management benefits to the water-stressed community, Kumbharwadi.
This year’s climate negotiations in Warsaw, Poland (COP 19) were a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the summit’s outcomes were dramatically out of step with the level of action needed to solve the climate change problem. A tempting metaphor for the talks was the national stadium in which they were held– one could go around in endless circles in search of the right location.
On the other hand, the Warsaw COP did achieve the incremental outcomes needed to move the process forward. Negotiators put in place a work plan for securing an international climate agreement at COP 21 in Paris in 2015. The COP also made progress on scaling up climate finance and addressing the difficult issue of loss and damage, a process for addressing climate impacts that are difficult or impossible to adapt to. These are small but important steps toward bringing countries out of their repetitive, circular discussions and closer to agreeing collectively on how to address global climate change.
The issue of "loss and damage" will be a critical component of the discussions at COP 19 in Warsaw. These negotiations could be contentious and emotional—and not surprisingly, given what is at stake. Losses and damages under scenarios well below four degrees of warming could, over time, include the submergence of mega-cities, the collapse of major ecosystems, and the loss of entire island nations. But the loss and damage (L&D) negotiations need to succeed for COP 19 to succeed—and for the global community to get on track to achieve an ambitious, effective, and equitable climate change agreement in 2015.
One of the conference’s main themes was that stakeholders at the local and national levels must work together to foster locally grounded, community-based adaptation efforts. I elaborated on this theme in a video interview with IIED. Check it out below.