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When an individual thinks of bringing about a change in the environment, it comes across as an abstract and broad project that can overwhelm people, trying to get them to take action in the first place. To correct this issue, experts and researchers are trying to develop a series of approaches that breaks down the sustainability project into simple steps.
Thus, before designing any solution to tackle climate change impacts and risks, it is necessary to understand where things are going wrong and to what extent. Once the seriousness of the situation is properly understood, it will be easy and simple to make a plan of action that people around the world can follow.
The impacts of climate change are currently and increasingly being felt today. According to recent climate change projections, the frequency and intensity of severe natural calamities will increase in the coming years. These natural calamities or weather events, such as storms, cyclones, floods, and more, along with gradual changes like sea-level rise and desertification and the resulting socio-economic aspects, pose an increasing risk to the sustainable development of all nations. It can also result in economic and non-economic damages and losses.
Developing countries are more vulnerable to the risks climate change poses. This means that their social and natural systems are much more exposed to the impacts of climate change, and they will not be able to cope with them like developed countries. Despite the current efforts for adaptation and mitigation, the risks of adverse impacts of climate change remain. Climate change risk assessment and management to avoid, reduce, and address damages and losses are thus very important.
Climate change risk assessment or Climate Risk Assessment (CRA) analyses how severe weather conditions and climate change interact with socioeconomic factors to understand the overall risk for the affected region or population. This risk assessment evaluates the extent of the predicted impacts and identifies the benefits and costs of the most promising risk management options. This analysis demonstrates measures to deal with risks and forms the basis for integrating climate policy measures into national policies and public budgets.
Climate change risk assessment helps strengthen the foundation for climate change risk management by identifying the extent and nature by which climate change and its increasing effects may damage a country, area, community, or neighbourhood.
Assessing and quantifying climate change risks- assessing the result of the interaction of vulnerability, hazard, and exposure- is essential to support further planning and decision-making. Therefore, identifying the existing and future climate change risks and impacts on countries, regions, people, assets, biodiversity, and ecosystems can aid in allocating resources. It can also help to formulate adaptation projects and policies for reducing vulnerability and risk and helps to establish a baseline against which the success of adaptation actions and policies can be regulated.
Climate change risk management or Climate Risk Management (CRM) is a systematic framework that aims to predict, avoid, and minimize all types of climate change risks. It also aims to absorb the effects of severe weather conditions and slow climate changes. CRM assimilates two types of research fields into a sustainable development framework: Climate Change Adaption (CCA) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).
CRM seeks to address and minimize the negative impacts of climate change by preventing various climate risks by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing climate risks through adaption, and risk management or managing residual climate risks by using instruments like climate risk financing and transformative measures.
Climate Risk Management consists of several steps and should be built on the participation of stakeholders from various scales and sectors.
1. Identify the risks
2. Assess the magnitude of the impacts
3. Identify the measures
4. Prioritize and fund measures
5. Implement the measures
6. Monitor and evaluate
Managing the risks of climate change can also be done by building resilience. The proper and effective management of the degrading environment is only possible if sustainable development plans are catered to according to the current environmental vulnerabilities.
The entire process of managing the risks of climate change can be broken down into four categories:
Mitigation: Efforts to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions
Adaptation: Equipping society to cope with climate change by building strong resilience
Geoengineering: Attempts to prevent multiple impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.
Awareness: If every individual attempt to understand climate change’s impacts, it helps the whole process of climate change risk management.
Due to the subjective nature of risk assessment, suitable CRM measures cannot only be determined based on a cost-benefit analysis as several important aspects are not quantifiable but may have an impact, especially on poor people. Identifying measures is context-specific and needs to consider the following factors:
If there is no certainty about climate change and its impacts in the future, it means that the measures of incremental nature will not always be sufficient. Measures with a transformational character that modify fundamental attributes of the system need proper consideration to manage existing and future climate change risks.
After identifying the most appropriate risk management measures and their costs, the next step would be the process of decision-making and implementation. Thus, decision-makers can prioritize better and fund and administer options. Evaluating and monitoring the measures helps facilitate continuous learning that feeds into the CRM cycle and informs future decisions.