For today's article, I thought it'd be a good idea to consider Climate Change Innovation. we are doing a lot to combat Climate Change, but we need to take a pause and figure out if what we're doing is actually working. We'We'rell start this article by looking at a study of Climate Change Projects in Mexico, followed by a study of rainfall, and finally, we'll consider if we're on the right track. So stick around, and you might be so enlightened as to not waste as much water next time you decide you're not thirsty.
Mexico’s Approach; A Study
A study by three researchers contemplated 25 Climate Change projects in Mexico in five different aspects, taking into consideration the differing situations of the areas studied (high areas of social marginalization and the difficulties of those areas most at risk of the sea rising) The approaches measured were the vulnerability of municipalities to climate change (it was noted that there were 212 municipalities), the alignment of projects with national climate change policies, their contribution to the adaptive capacities of the natural sector, (ability to adapt to the situation, noting that human and/or environmental capacity may affect impacts of climate change), contribution to the adaptive capacities of the socioeconomic sector, and finally contribution to climate governance.
These adaptive capacities were held to be ‘the ability to modify characteristics or behaviors to better cope or anticipate change factors.’ The vulnerability of municipalities was measured on a scale of 0 (very low) to 4 (very high), alignment with national policies was measured on a basis of 0-2, with areas that aligned with 2+ policies scoring a 2 (the maximum), and those that aligned with none scoring 0. The other three areas were measured based on 22 different indicators.
Of all the 5 different aspects, contribution to the adaptive capacities of the socioeconomic sector received the lowest standard rating at only 12. This, of course, was put down the various different and complex factors involved, given that the socioeconomic factors cover so many issues.
‘The focus on the need for social changes has garnered momentum in contemporary societies due to, for example, the increasing demand for energy and basic resources.’
Vulnerability per municipalities scored the highest at 68, and contribution to national policies was the second highest scoring, at 44. It is worth noting that the results showed that of the municipalities that received funding from international agencies, a whopping 67% were located in the central region, with 14% in the southern areas and 19% in the northern areas. It is important to note that the research also pointed out the higher threat from climate change that the northern region faced, due to it having higher chances of floods because of its geographical location. Furthermore, only 6 out of 29 of the municipalities located within 20km of the coast were part of the 64 that received funding.
It’s clear from this research which areas need improvement in terms of approaches to Climate Change. I wish I could say that I’m surprised at the results of which municipalities received funding and which did not, but I’m not. It’s a shame that those at higher risk don’t receive as much as those in the central areas, and it shows that our approaches to Climate Change need to be strategized. Who is more at risk? What can others do to help it? Why do they receive less than what they need; is it bias or is it an issue of resources? But what do you think?
Climate Change in Somalia
In recent years, the number of climate-related incidents has increased, posing threats to all kinds of social and economic development; hence the complexities mentioned with the socioeconomic factors in the Mexico study. Climate Change has of course been linked to these incidents, and it’s important that we consider whose more at risk.
Some rural areas rely on agriculture for everyday necessities like food and water. But Climate Change is rapidly making this life more and more difficult. Somalia (with a reported 94% of its nomadic communities living in poverty) experienced a significant increase in both the frequency and intensity of droughts and floods and the United Nations even listed the number of people displaced by drought in Somalia between November 2016 and October 2017 as a staggering 943,000.
This is a serious issue, and it’s one that’s difficult to fix. None of us have the power to acquire a magical hat and shower countries with rain when they need it, and while we’ve seen a number of Water-related charities advertised, there’s only so much we can do. It’s hard, pouring yourself a glass of water from the fridge’s water dispenser, thinking about how we could leave that water sat on the desk before it gets thrown in the sink when some people in the world don’t even have a drop of water to touch their lips. Or do you even think about it?
I was sitting writing this article, looking outside my window and watching the rain patter against the window when it hit me the absolute absurdity of the moment. Just a few months ago I was sitting in Africa, the rain pouring down for the first time in a week of blistering sunshine, and it was like a completely different world. Children laughing and playing outside in the rain as their parents called them back inside for tea, some of the roads being reduced to rivers for people to literally direct cars through; a stormy experience that in the UK would only be met with the complaints of onlookers as they hustle down the road and wait for the storm to pass, umbrella gripped tightly in their hand for the fourth time that week. Depending on where we live, our approach to water is different. And it’s with that, that you really have to consider what exactly you can do about it. But in order to do something about it, we have to understand the issue.
A study in Somalia tried to provide projected rainfall and temperature change scenarios in Lower Jubba (an area of Somalia) using the downscaled Coordinated Regional Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) RCM data compared with observed data.
They specifically looked at the years 2030, 2050 and 2070. In terms of rainfall, it was predicted that there would be a decrease up until 2030, followed by an increase in 2050 and 2070. Meanwhile, both minimum and maximum temperatures increased in all seasons. It was reported that these predicted that future development and livelihood in Somalia would continue to be at risk from Climate Change extremes unless there were adaptive systems put in place to help them handle this.
Are we in trouble?
Over the years, we’ve seen many a variety of innovative steps towards Climate Change. From Partnerships, agreements like the Kyoto Protocol and even the studies we mentioned earlier, and even the stopping of unnecessary plastic use like plastic bags and straws, we’re slowly taking steps towards a more Climate friendly future. And it’s not all as burdensome as it appears at first. Surprisingly, these steps have driven down prices and introduced new technology we may have never discovered if it weren’t for our efforts to appreciate the Planet.
And as much as these sound helpful, there’s still room for improvement. 13/21 sectoral indicators show that while our rate of change is on track, they are well below the levels required for 2030 and 2050. Furthermore, 2 indicators show that change is going in the wrong direction. We need to move our use of renewable energy from 25% to 100% in 2050. Furthermore, we’ll need to phase out our use of unabated coal 6x faster than we are currently. A net zero roadmap created by the International Energy Agency shows that the necessary decarbonisation by 2030 is achievable with the technology we have today, but by the middle of the century, almost half of the required emission reductions will require technology that does not even exist yet. These technologies are still under development.
With that, I'm going to leave this article here, and finish up with this quote that I found, for you to think about.
‘Systems change, not climate change.’
Virues-Contreras, P., Monjardin, L.R. and Valle-Cárdenas, B.D. (2020) International cooperation in adaptation to climate change: Foreign agendas or local necessities?, American Journal of Climate Change. Scientific Research Publishing. Available at: https://www.scirp.org/journal/paperinformation.aspx?paperid=106262 (Accessed: October 19, 2022).
Ogallo, L.A. et al. (2018) Climate change projections and the associated potential impacts for Somalia, American Journal of Climate Change. Scientific Research Publishing. Available at: https://www.scirp.org/journal/paperinformation.aspx?paperid=84605 (Accessed: October 20, 2022).
(n.d.) Executive summary: State of climate action. World Resources Institute. Available at: https://publications.wri.org/state_of_climate_action/executive-summary#key-findings (Accessed: October 22, 2022).
Levin, K. and Steer, A. (2021) Fighting climate change with innovation, IMF. Available at: https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/fandd/issues/2021/09/bezos-earth-fund-climate-change-innovation-levin#:~:text=Three%20innovation%20opportunities%20alone%E2%80%94direct,reductions%20between%202030%20and%202050. (Accessed: October 22, 2022).