Flooding: Prioritizing protection?

Article By Pascal Peduzzi, | 31 July, Nature Climate Change.

With climate change, urban development and economic growth, more assets and infrastructures will be exposed to flooding. Now research shows that investments in flood protection are globally beneficial, but have varied levels of benefit locally.

Coastal impact and adaptation analysis

Understanding extreme sea levels for broad-scale coastal impact and adaptation analysis

Source: Nature. Authors: T. Wahl, I.D. Haigh, R.J. Nicholls, A. Arns, S. Dangendorf, J. Hinkel & A.B.A. Slangen

One of the main consequences of mean sea level rise (SLR) on human settlements is an increase in flood risk due to an increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme sea levels (ESL). While substantial research efforts are directed towards quantifying projections and uncertainties of future global and regional SLR, corresponding uncertainties in contemporary ESL have not been assessed and projections are limited. Here we quantify, for the first time at global scale, the uncertainties in present-day ESL estimates, which have by default been ignored in broad-scale sea-level rise impact assessments to date. ESL uncertainties exceed those from global SLR projections and, assuming that we meet the Paris agreement goals, the projected SLR itself by the end of the century in many regions. Both uncertainties in SLR projections and ESL estimates need to be understood and combined to fully assess potential impacts and adaptation needs. Quote from the article:

“Up to 310 million people residing in low elevation coastal zones are already directly or indirectly vulnerable to ESL and coastal storms are causing damages in the order of tens of billion US$ per year. These numbers could increase dramatically with SLR and other changes, leading to annual damages of up to almost 10% of the global gross domestic product in 2100 if no adaptation measures are taken. Hence, there is a need for assessments of potential changes in coastal flood risk and adaptation strategies to manage these risks.”

Three years to safeguard our climate

Source: Nature.

In the past three years, global emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have levelled after rising for decades. This is a sign that policies and investments in climate mitigation are starting to pay off. The United States, China and other nations are replacing coal with natural gas and boosting renewable energy sources. There is almost unanimous international agreement that the risks of abandoning the planet to climate change are too great to ignore.

The technology-driven transition to low-carbon energy is well under way, a trend that made the 2015 Paris climate agreement possible. But there is still a long way to go to decarbonize the world economy. >>

Europe focus on the Paris Agreement

PRIMO considers direct action on climate change – knowing the many research results, predictions and possible scentari0’s scientists have published in the last decades – a form of public risk management. It has already passed the stage of  the Precautionary Principle a strategy to cope with possible risks where scientific understanding is yet incomplete – but has entered the arena of  accepting proven correlations, raise the awareness and moreover respond swiftly and properly . “Being too late is not an option” (Barrack Obama).

The Dutch Have Solutions to Rising Seas

The Dutch Have Solutions to Rising Seas. The World Is Watching.

In the waterlogged Netherlands, climate change is considered neither a hypothetical nor a drag on the economy. Instead, it’s an opportunity.

“It is, in essence, to let water in, where possible, not hope to subdue Mother Nature: to live with the water, rather than struggle to defeat it. The Dutch devise lakes, garages, parks and plazas that are a boon to daily life but also double as enormous reservoirs for when the seas and rivers spill over. You may wish to pretend that rising seas are a hoax perpetrated by scientists and a gullible news media. Or you can build barriers galore. But in the end, neither will provide adequate defense, the Dutch say.” >>

Malta: to mitigate climate change

Malta may be a desert by the end of the century

Source: Malta Times.

Malta could end up a desert by the turn of the century, if no immediate action is taken about climate change, with the effects kicking in by 2030.

An advisory company has started looking at Malta as a case study for best practices – that could be applied to the rest of the Mediterranean countries – to mitigate climate change

Speaking to this newspaper ahead of a conference next week, Edwin Ward, chairman of Paragon Europe, referred to a study by Joel Guiot of Aix-Marseille University. The researcher has stated that unless temperature increases were kept below 1.5˚C, Mediterranean ecosystems will change: temperatures could rise by nearly 5˚C globally by 2100, causing deserts to expand northwards across southern Spain, Malta and Sicily. >>

Coral reef – our ocean delivery room – under great stress

Coral reef – our ocean delivery room – under great stress

Source: Arc Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies

For the second time in just 12 months, scientists have recorded severe coral bleaching across huge tracts of the Great Barrier Reef after completing aerial surveys along its entire length. In 2016, bleaching was most severe in the northern third of the Reef, while one year on, the middle third has experienced the most intense coral bleaching.

“The combined impact of this back-to-back bleaching stretches for 1,500 km (900 miles), leaving only the southern third unscathed,” says Prof. Terry Hughes, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, who undertook the aerial surveys in both 2016 and 2017.”

“The bleaching is caused by record-breaking temperatures driven by global warming. This year, 2017, we are seeing mass bleaching, even without the assistance of El Niño conditions.”

“Ultimately, we need to cut carbon emissions, and the window to do so is rapidly closing.” >>

PRIMO underlines that climate change and global warming will cause high public risks, i.e. risk towards humans, society and nature. The damage to and loss of coral reefs – the ocean delivery room – will cause disruption of world ocean ecosystems and biodiversity will all consequences for quality of life and resilience.

Global reshuffle of wildlife

Climate change: global reshuffle of wildlife will have huge impacts on humanity

Source: The Guardian.

Mass migration of species to cooler climes has profound implications for society, pushing disease-carrying insects, crop pests and crucial pollinators into new areas, says international team of scientists. Global warming is reshuffling the ranges of animals and plants around the world with profound consequences for humanity, according to a major new analysis.

Rising temperatures on land and sea are increasingly forcing species to migrate to cooler climes, pushing disease-carrying insects into new areas, moving the pests that attack crops and shifting the pollinators that fertilise many of them, an international team of scientists has said. >>

Climate breaks records in 2016

Climate breaks multiple records in 2016, with global impacts

By World Meteorological Organization

The year 2016 made history, with a record global temperature, exceptionally low sea ice, and unabated sea level rise and ocean heat, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Extreme weather and climate conditions have continued into 2017.

WMO issued its annual statement on the State of the Global Climate ahead of World Meteorological Day on 23 March. It is based on multiple international datasets maintained independently by global climate analysis centres and information submitted by dozens of WMO Members, National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and Research Institutes and is an authoritative source of reference. Because the social and economic impacts of climate change have become so important, WMO partnered with other United Nations organizations for the first time this year to include information on these impacts.

“This report confirms that the year 2016 was the warmest on record – a remarkable 1.1 °C above the pre-industrial period, which is 0.06 °C above the previous record set in 2015. This increase in global temperature is consistent with other changes occurring in the climate system,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. >>

PRIMO recognises that trends in climate change have been described and analysed for years now. This report is in line with that. It is more and more becoming crystal clear that we will have to face huge public risks for citizen, society and nature as well as that political, governmental and entrepreneurial action is highly needed to reduce carbon dioxide emission. What is relevant to quote is that Secretary General Petteri Taalas brings forward his strong belief that we are in unknown territory now, an area were the governance and management of ‘risk and resilience’ should be at his best. Considering the complexity and the multitude of stakes and interests this will though be highly challenging.

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