Climate Impacts and Risk Assessment

 ©Bertknot, CC BY-SA 2.0
©Bertknot, CC BY-SA 2.0

Our work focuses on understanding the effects of climate change on livelihood realities and development perspectives of especially vulnerable population groups. Impact and vulnerability assessments provide an important basis for the identification of adaptation requirements as well as analyses of loss and damage. Through assessing the implications of impacts at different levels of warming, we gain a better understanding of the implications of different emission pathways. SIDS and LDCs face particularly great challenges. Their physical exposure and the limited number of available adaptation options as well as adaptive capacity are key determinants of their vulnerability.

Latest

Regional lead for South Asia and the Middle East, Fahad Saeed, describes remedies in response to the heatwave in South Asia. A few suggestions include the proper provision of water and power, adding renewables to power generation, and cooling centres in public facilities.  
Farmlands in Nepal have shrunk 2.1 per cent in the period from 2000 through 2019, due largely to migration and shortage of labour. About 10 per cent of this agricultural land has been converted into forest cover, leading to a 1.9 per cent increase in the same time period.  
With wind and solar energy costs falling and energy imports getting more expensive, Africa can use its abundance of renewable resources to leapfrog fossil fuels altogether. South Africa has the ability to increase the renewables share of power generation to 78-90 percent by 2030.  
Droughts, flooding, and erratic rainfall continue to impact agriculture in Nepal, threatening food security. Manjeet Dhakal speaks with The Kathmandu Post about some striking numbers regarding flooding and droughts.  

Publications

The contributions of single greenhouse gas emitters to country-level climate change are generally not disentangled, despite their relevance for climate policy and litigation. Here, we quantify the contributions of the five largest emitters (China, US, EU-27, India, and Russia) to projected 2030 country-level warming and extreme hot years with respect to pre-industrial climate using an innovative suite of Earth System Model emulators.  
Although effects on labour is one of the most tangible and attributable climate impact, our quantification of these effects is insufficient and based on weak methodologies. Partly, this gap is due to the inability to resolve different impact channels, such as changes in time allocation (labour supply) and slowdown of work (labour productivity). Explicitly resolving those in a multi-model inter-comparison framework can help to improve estimates of the effects of climate change on labour effectiveness.  
In late 2020, Switzerland formally updated its national determined contribution to achieving the Paris Agreement's long-term temperature goal by targeting a higher level of domestic emissions reductions by 2030. This modest goal was defeated in a referendum on June 12, 2021. While the current Swiss government has reiterated its commitment to 50% overall reductions by 2030, implementation now relies on the Federal Council’s 2016 recommendation to achieve a 30% reduction in domestic emissions by 2030, with the remainder to be attained through emissions reductions achieved overseas. But is this 2030 goal enough to put Switzerland on track to achieve its goal of net zero GHG emissions by 2050 and preserve its glaciers?  

Projects

The "Climate Action Tracker" is an independent science-based assessment, which tracks the emission commitments and actions of countries.  
This project aims to improve the understanding of future risks from water scarcity and food insecurity in particularly vulnerable countries in the Horn of Africa Drylands, and to support community-centered climate adaptation and resilience. It aims to enhancing the climate service capacity in this region and support adaptation policies and communication.  
The EmBARK-project investigates time scales and possible trajectories of socio-economic transformation processes and analyse their relevance as potential barriers to adaptation to climate change. An improved understanding of the temporal dynamics of such barriers is key in developing a more realistic understanding of future climate impacts and for scientifically robust assessment of future climate related loss and damage.  
IMPACT is a cross-cutting, multi-faceted project that aims to strengthen the connections between the scientific assessments of climate impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to help enable access to finance and help Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) implement concrete projects.  
SLICE is investigating Short- and Long-Term Impacts of Climate Extremes and aims to develop a systematic understanding of the channels through which climate extremes impact socio-economic development all the way from the household to the macroeconomic level. This will help developing effective strategies for long-term economic development under climate change.