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Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
Session
WED4.5: Climate change: impacts, preparedness and adaptation
Time: Wednesday, 29/Aug/2012: 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Session Chair: Adolfo MASCARENHAS, LINKS Trust Fund
Session Chair: Man Cheung CHUNG, Zayed University
Location: Wisshorn

Session


Presentations

The impact of uncertainties and risks on cooperation and conflict in transboundary water management

Itay FISCHHENDLER

hebrew university, Israel, State of

The effect of uncertainty and risk itself on cooperation between the partners sharing the natural resources remains unknown. Reasonable theoretical arguments can be put forward to suggest that risk may strengthen cooperation between partners, as cooperation is necessary to reduce the uncertainty, develop effective mitigation policies and infrastructure, and achieve economies of scale. Alternatively, risk may serve as a cause of friction between the different parties, since uncertainty, and the mechanisms available for dealing with it, may aggravate the asymmetries between the sides in terms of power, access to information, etc. Hence we examine whether risk and uncertainties in a transboundary setting promote or impede cooperation. Taking Arab-Israeli water agreements and subsequent negotiations as a case study, this work identifies which risk and uncertainties policymakers address collectively, which they address unilaterally, and which they do not address at all. We then evaluate their effect on potential conflict and cooperation.

It seems that social uncertainties and risks around interpretation of existing data dominates the water negotiations rather then technical or physical risks and uncertainties around the need to generate new knowledge. The risks are often situated outside the water ream and tend to detrimentally affect the chances to solve water issues. Most of the indicators used to assess the affect of risk indicatives that although partners often address uncertainties in a cooperative manner, the mechanisms used to address them tend to become a focal point for frication. Many of these mechanisms are procedural rather then clear and defined rules or outcomes. This open- end approach creates its own risks as if and how they will be able to clarify the uncertainties remains unknown.


Climate change risk analysis as a basis for a national climate change adaptation strategy in Switzerland

Niels HOLTHAUSEN1, Pamela KÖLLNER-HECK2, Michael BRÜNDL3, Peter LOCHER1, Marco PÜTZ4, Sabine PERCH-NIELSEN1, Lilian BLASER1, Thomas PROBST2, Roland HOHMANN2

1Ernst Basler + Partner, Switzerland; 2Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland; 3WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Switzerland; 4Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Switzerland

In Switzerland, an analysis of both risks and benefits of climate change is to provide a transparent basis for adaptation decision making on the national scale. To account for the strong regional differences (e.g. high mountains vs. lowlands), the analysis comprises a case study for each of six predefined regions. In this paper, we will present first results for the case study Aargovia.

The approach focuses on the climate change impacts on the policy areas health, agriculture, forestry, buildings and infrastructure, water management, tourism, energy supply, biodiversity and open spaces. The expected impacts of changes in temperature, precipitation and wind are separated in related hazards and developments: from short and medium-term events (e.g. storms, heat waves) to long-term developments (e.g. rise of mean temperature).

The risk analysis accounts for the annual variation of climate-related losses and benefits by the use of probability density functions (PDF) for quantifiable annual effects of each hazard on the relevant policy areas. These PDF enable an aggregation of monetized annual risks and benefits by Monte Carlo simulation for each of the policy areas and/or for each of the hazards considered. Qualitative information on climate change impacts and the degree of uncertainties in the quantitative estimates is considered in the interpretation of the results. We compare today’s risks with those projected into the future (2060). For that purpose we calculate the future risks using two different climate change scenarios and one socioeconomic and demographic scenario. This allows for a comparison of climate change impacts versus demographic, social and economic trends. For an aggregation of the case study results on a national scale, the case study results will suitably be scaled up.

The results provide a valuable basis for the discussion of climate change adaptation priorities on a national scale among responsible administration units and stakeholders.


Weather aware, climate prepared.

Tim DONOVAN, Tom BUTCHER

Met Office, United Kingdom

The UK Met Office has been involved in understanding and the management of weather and climate risks for over 150 years. Through its public weather service it has a key role in forecasting and communicating information about severe weather events to the public and community responders. In addition, it supports national and local government agencies plan for climate change risks. Similar work is also carried out on an international scale. The UK Met Office works in partnership with National Meteorological Services in developing countries to increase capacity to provide weather and climate services in order to reduce the impacts of natural disasters on the vulnerable and to increase community resilience to the impacts of climate change. Weather and climate services extend across a wide range of timescales: from providing short range warnings on the progression of a tropical cyclone, advice on likelihood of drought seasons ahead, to providing analysis on the changing risks of disasters over the next century. The presentation will focus on examples of how our partnerships deliver tailored services to vulnerable communities that allow them to make smarter decisions and add real value to people's lives.


Climate change, natural resources, institution and the value of research from a global to a local perspective in Mwanga district Kilimanjaro region, Tanzania

Adolfo Caridade MASCARENHAS

LINKS Trust Fund, Tanzania, United Republic of

Three years of multidisciplinary research, by a team of researchers from the USA and Tanzania, funded by the National Science Foundation, on climate change and its impact on the livelihoods of people in Mwanga district Kilimanjaro region has shed light on the efforts by communities to cope and to adapt to changes. The limitations of generalized conventional approaches to “”fix” climate change problems through, adaptation and mitigation formulas contrasts with the more dynamic approaches of several segments of the communities. This presentation highlights only three preliminary observations. First, it exposes the existing and underlying causes of risks and vulnerabilities. Secondly the conventional generalized almost monopolistic adaptation approaches have limitations which must be recognized and corrective action is not an option but a necessity. Thirdly, what also emerges are the need to relook and pay attention to resources, such as water, space, “forests” all of which have been so much taken for granted. A forest for instance is more than trees. Within this context the links between national and local institutions, and the communities assume a new significance. Since “climate change” has an impact on all sectors it means incorporating improved flows of information, better use of science and a reassessment of who gains and who losses in resource utilization. There are compelling reasons that transparency and responsibility of reconfigured both private and public institutions could bring several improvements. Actions should not be anchored on formulas but on equitable and sustainable development; reduce risks of social conflicts. Solutions should minimize disasters, create opportunities, for the use of both local and scientific knowledge to logically address constraints. Attention to intergenerational knowledge use and integrated participatory approaches would provide a stable platform to address present and future problem of changes.


The climate change impact and adaptation strategy on disaster in Taiwan

Yung-ming CHEN1, Liang-chun CHEN1,2

1Natinonal Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction, Taiwan, Republic of China; 2National Taiwan University, Graduate Institute of Building and Planning

Because Taiwan is located above the seismic belt at the western edge of the Pacific Ocean and is on the main path of typhoons invading the western North Pacific Ocean, it is frequently affected by nature hazards. With 73% of Taiwan’s population exposed to three or more hazards a year and nearly 99% exposed to at least two a year, Taiwan is situated in a high risk region of the world as mentioned in “natural disaster hotspots – a global risk analysis” (World Bank, 2005). The statistics for the frequency of typhoons and the variability of extreme rainfall over the past 40 years suggest that extreme rainfall typhoons tended to occur approximately once every three or four years during the pre-2000 period and increased in frequency to once a year post-2000. These numbers show that Taiwan has suffered from serious flooding and typhoon disasters more frequently in recent years. Under the threat of climate change impact, Taiwan established the Climate Change Adaptation Policy Framework (Taiwan CCAPF) based on UNDP/GEF APF. The disaster risk reduction is one of the most important issues in the APF. Some suggestions on disaster prevention and adaptation strategies against climate change are presented here as follows: (1) promote the climate change risk assessment and set the high risk conservation area; (2) improve integration system of disaster monitoring and warning; (3) evaluate the vulnerability and protection capacity of critical infrastructure and new development plan; (4) promote comprehensive river basin management; (5) consider the extreme event and large-scale disasters in disaster prevention and protection policy .

The finally we will show the disaster risk maps under climate change in Taiwan.


Diagnosis of climate-related risks by using a Bayesian updating method – a case study of summer temperature in China

YunYun JIN1,2, Ming WANG1,2, PeiJun SHI1,2, SaiNi YANG1,2

1State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes & Resource Ecology,Beijing 100875,China; 2Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency Management Ministry of Civil Affairs & Ministry of Education,Beijing Normal University,Beijing 100875,China

Much attention has been drawn to the regional climate changes of China for its vulnerable ecological environment, under the background of fast socio-economic development in the country. We adopted the Bayesian updating method for computing the fraction of attributable risk related to climate damages developed by Jaeger et al in 2008, and proposed a System Instability Index (SII) that indicates the propensity of transitions toward the relatively instable phases in which observed climate variables show significant change in terms of trend or variation, or both. As a case study to test the proposed method, we used the summer temperature data collected from 756 Chinese weather stations in the years of 1951 to 2009. We computed the time-varying weights of the 6 hypothesized models that characterize the temperature profiles in both mean and standard deviation and their change over time. The SII of each year was computed by summing up the weights of models in which instable phases were captured. We further analyzed the spatial and temporal changes of SII over China. We found out that the summer temperature abnormality started in a few places in the Loess Plateau, Inner Mongolia Plateau and Da and Xiao Xing’an Mountains in 1960s while all other areas presented stable status. The abnormality gradually expanded to Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Tianshan regions in 1970-1980s, and then coastal line from Hainan Island to Yangtze River Delta in 1990-2000s. At the end of 2009, most areas in China, except North China Plain, Yangtze River Basin and Sichuan Basin, showed abnormality in the summer temperatures. This finding may move one step forward to understanding the environmental risk of China induced by global climate change, and this method may have a broader use for diagnosing climate related risks at various scales.


Coping with floods in a riverbank-settlement in Jakarta, Indonesia. An interdisciplinary approach to human actor's heterogeneous risk-strategies

Roanne VAN VOORST1, Michel HANDGRAAF2

1UvA, Netherlands, Kingdom of the; 2Wageningen University, Netherlands, Kingdom of the

Due to global climate changes and environmental degradation, the amount and severity of natural hazard will strongly increase in future years. According to the International Panel on Climate Changes (IPCC 2007), more than two-thirds of the world's largest cities is currently vulnerable to rising sea levels, posing millions of people at risk of extreme flooding and storms. For that reason, there is a growing academic and practical interest in the various ways in which people around the world respond to and cope with such natural hazards. Global research shows that individuals and households show a wide range in their level of adaptive responses, from almost none at all to extensive (e.g. Grothmann 2006, Harries 2008, Machiavelli 2010). Comparable observations were reported from one of the most flood-prone areas of this world, Indonesia's capital Jakarta, where data for this study were collected (van Voorst forthcoming). However, up to now, risk-scholars have remained puzzled by the reasons behind the high heterogeneity in risk-responses used by flood-victims. Dominant vulnerability analyses offer unsatisfactory explanations for various responses to floods, and resultant, intervention programs aimed to help victims of floods are often inefficient. This research project will contribute to a better understanding of people’s responses to floods by combining and expanding current sociological and psychological theories on risk-coping. The Indonesian case study as presented in this paper is mainly based on ethnographic data obtained during one year of fieldwork in one of the poorest and severely flood-prone settlements in Jakarta. Analysis of psychological and socio-economic data shows that current social explanations focus too much on people’s material circumstances, while they mostly neglect psychological factors such as self-efficacy. However, the empirical findings suggest that psychological aspects are much better able to explain for heterogeneous risk-responses than are material indicators in currently dominant vulnerability frameworks.



 
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