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Climate Change Risk Management

by | May 22, 2022 | Climate Change

What is Climate Change Risk Management?

Most of the world has witnessed a rise in natural disasters such as hurricanes, cyclones, and droughts over the last few years. Climate experts have predicted that many more extreme weather events will be inevitable in the future. The fact that the climate is changing is no longer in doubt. Arctic ice is melting faster than scientists anticipated. The more researchers and scientists study and reveal new evidence for climate change, the more serious and challenging our future becomes.

Climate Change Risk Management - Graph of global surface temperature anomalies from 1880-2020

Source

Climate Change Risk Management is a structured framework that aims to predict, avoid, and prevent all forms of climate change risks. The framework also seeks to absorb the current impacts and offset the potential and future effects of climate change.

Climate Change Risk Management helps in averting climate risks by reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases and minimising climate risks through adaptation. It is usually implemented in four phases:

1. Plan for Screening/Assessment:

A plan to screen or assess climate risks and opportunities involves reviewing previous screenings and assessments. It also includes determining the appropriate screening/assessment approach.

2. Conduct Screening/Assessment:

Conducting a screening or assessment involves assessing the climate risks, addressing those risks, and making plans for adaptive management. This step also involves determining or searching for opportunities to build climate resilience.

3. Incorporate Results:

Leaders must incorporate the result of the screening/assessment into the design of policies, projects, activities, and strategies. The incorporation of the results ensures that the action or project reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps in mitigating climate change impacts. Incorporating results enables us to address climate risks and adaptively manage them.

4. Implement & Adaptively Manage:

This phase involves implementing plans to combat climate risks. It also entails monitoring and evaluation to ensure that we appropriately manage climate risks.

Individuals and organisations use Climate Change Risk Management to facilitate making their climate-resilient decisions. Its objective is to encourage sustainable development by maximising the favourable responses to climate change and reducing negative impacts across environments and sectors that the changing climate will affect.

Approaches to Climate Change Risk Management

Climate change risk management strategies typically fall under four key categories:

1. Mitigation

(Taking efforts to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases)

By reducing greenhouse gas emissions, mitigation measures do not allow society to further contribute to greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Eventually, this will lead to a decrease in the amount of climate that will change. Reducing the potential of climate change will help make the societal impacts of that small amount of climate change manageable. The approaches to reducing emissions fall into six main categories. They are:

1. Regulation

2. Research, development, and the advent of new technologies

3. Conservation

4. An increase in public awareness of climate change

5. Positive incentives to help people make choices that lower emissions

6. Adding a price or taxing greenhouse gas emissions by industries and businesses

2. Adaptation

(Increasing society’s ability and capacity to adapt to changes in climatic conditions)

Adaptation includes making plans for the climate change impacts and improving society’s ability and capacity to bounce back and recover from those impacts. Adaptation will help to reduce the damage and destruction climate change will bring. Adaptation policies include regulation, response planning, disaster recovery, impact assessments, observations, and monitoring. It also involves taking steps to minimise biodiversity loss, land degradation, and pollution.

3. Climate Engineering (or Geoengineering)

(Deliberately manipulating the Earth’s systems to fight some impacts of greenhouse gas emissions)

Goe-engineering means globally manipulating or altering the Earth’s climate system. There are two categories of geoengineering that are most prevalent within the scientific community today. They are:

1. Managing Solar Radiation: Offsetting the warming caused by humans by reflecting incoming solar energy back into space

2. Carbon Sequestration: Removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in deep underground chambers or in deep oceans

Geo-engineering techniques counteract the warming caused by greenhouse gas concentrations. It could help potentially reduce the number of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. However, deliberately manipulating the Earth’s systems could involve risks. Engineering the Earth’s systems on a large scale could lead to unpredictable and unintended consequences.

4. Knowledge-base Expansion

(Taking efforts and attempting to learn about the Earth’s climate system to understand its risk management better)

Researches, scientific assessments, technological developments, and observations help us better understand risks and reveal opportunities associated with the climate system. These studies facilitate and support decision-making by world leaders concerning climate change risk management. Expanding our knowledge base of the Earth’s climate can provide us with new opportunities for protecting our climate and reducing the potential risks associated with the impacts of climate change.

Conclusion

3,470 million people were affected by climate-related disasters between 1991-2005. 9,60,000 people died as a result of these disasters. Developing countries were the most affected due to their large vulnerable populations and low capacity for implementing climate risk reduction measures. But, our global exposure and vulnerability to extreme climate events are growing. There will be a rise in the number and costs of disasters.

It is human nature to resist change as long as we are comfortable with our current situations. We do not like accepting that change will negatively affect us. Even if affected by some anxiety, we choose to believe that change will not affect our families and us and that it will be others who will be affected. However, this nature of ours is an enemy to action. We need to individually and collectively adapt to a changing environment.

Climate Change Risk Management helps us do just that. It aids us in better adapting to a changing environment and helps us reduce the further impacts of climate change on society and the environment. It ensures that we are well prepared for what climate change will bring us and that we have appropriate responses in place. Climate Change Risk Management is an immensely beneficial tool for the world to cope with the effects of a changing climate and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to eliminate further change.

 

Author

  • The author has done a master's in Environmental science and is currently working as chief Environmental Advisor with New Delhi State Government.

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