Cécile Le Grix
Comment tout peut s’effondrer, Pablo Servigne, Raphaël Stevens, Paris, Le Seuil, coll. « Anthropocène », 2015.
The numerous major problems facing us in every domain (the environment, the climate, geopolitics, social issues, the economy…) are interconnected, feeding into and influencing each other. The most worrying aspect is that we have already passed several points of no return. The authors show that the growing systemic instability that we are facing means that there is a serious risk that industrial civilisation as it has established itself over more than two centuries could collapse.
L’âge des low tech: Vers une civilisation techniquement soutenable, Philippe Bihouix, Paris, Seuil, coll. Anthropocène, 2014.
Some contend that ‘green’ technologies are the way to save the planet while maintaining economic growth. However, these technologies, which use a lot of scarce resources and which are difficult to recycle, will lead us into an impasse. The author argues that rather than aiming for continuous high-tech innovation, we should aim for a society that is essentially based on low-tech technologies, which are less productive but use less resources and can be managed locally.
L’évènement Anthropocène. La Terre, l’histoire et nous, Christophe Bonneuil, Jean-Baptiste Fressoz, Paris, Le Seuil, coll. « Anthropocène », 2013.
In 2000, Paul Crutzen, an atmospheric chemist and Nobel Prize winner for his work on the ozone layer, popularised the concept of the ‘Anthropocene’ to describe a new geological period, which he believes began in 1784 when James Watt invented the steam engine. His view is that, since the industrial revolution, human beings as a species have become a major force in the life of the planet. The proof is that traces of our urban, consumerist, chemical and nuclear era will remain for thousands, even millions of years in the planet’s geological archive. How did we get to this point? And, most of all, how should we live in the Anthropocene? And lastly, in the words of the poet Jeanin Salesse, ‘What words need to be planted so that the gardens of the world become fertile again?’
Projections and risks
Existential climate-related security risk: A scenario approach, David Spratt, Ian Dunlop, Policy Paper, Breakthrough – National Centre for Climate Restoration, 2019.
Climate change has become an existential threat for human civilisation in the short- and medium-term, but it is not inevitable. A new approach to risk management which takes the climate into consideration is therefore necessary. In this report, a 2050 scenario of the high-end risks is outlined in which accelerating climate change impacts pose large negative consequences to humanity which might not be undone for centuries. To reduce or avoid such risks and to sustain human civilisation, it is essential to build a zero-emissions industrial system very quickly. This requires the global mobilisation of resources on an emergency basis, akin to a wartime level of response.
Practical science for uncertain futures: Using scenarios to improve resilience to earthquakes, J. Young, S. Njambi-Szlapka, J. Rodgers, Working Paper 563, ODI, 2019.
This study looks at earthquake disaster risk resilience, and particularly different actors’ decision-making and actions. This resilience can prove to be complex given the different ways of understanding the problem and different and sometimes competing agendas. The paper outlines the use of transdisciplinary research and futures studies as methods for tackling this type of complex problem. These offer practical steps to bring together stakeholders and actors from different disciplines and different lay perspectives to 1) agree a common understanding of the problem, 2) think systematically about how these problems may play out in the future, and 3) come up with actionable, strategic plans that bring the results to fruition on the ground. In particular, the paper explores the Geohazards International approach, which has been used with great success in resource-constrained contexts.
Meeting the global challenge of adaptation by addressing transboundary climate risk: A joint collaboration between SEI, IDDRI and ODI, Magnus Benzie et al., Discussion Brief, Stockholm Environment Institute, 2018.
This brief argues that adopting a transboundary view of climate risk, which explicitly recognises the interconnections between people, ecosystems and economies in a globalised world, changes the scope and nature of the adaptation challenge, and creates opportunities to reinvigorate international cooperation on adaptation. It asserts that the critical importance of adaptation is still under-valued in international negotiations. Specifically, the view that adaptation is a local problem is holding back ambition to pursue a global adaptation agenda that seeks solutions beyond the local-to-national level.
Global Warming of 1.5°C: An IPCC Special Report, V. Masson-Delmotte et al., IPPC, 2018.
This IPCC report looks at the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.
Mapping of future non-intentional risks: nature, occurrence, and vulnerabilities, F. Grünewald, B. Renaudin, C. Raillon, H. Maury, J. Gadrey, K. Hettrich, Groupe URD, 2010.
This report analyses the different issues related to anticipating non-intentional risks in different places, and at different times. It aims to clarify how the resilience of states and populations functions in relation to these risks, and provides maps at different levels by combining risks, both globally and for particularly sensitive areas of the planet.
Humanitarian aid in the future
The Future of Aid: INGOs in 2030, IRIS, Action Against Hunger, Centre for Humanitarian Leadership, Futuribles, IARAN, 2019.
This report seeks to explore the drivers of change in the global humanitarian ecosystem, the causes of humanitarian need, and how this ecosystem could evolve by 2030. These future perspectives are explored in relation to the timetable for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, in order to underline the significant role that the humanitarian ecosystem will play in achieving the 17 goals.
The cost of doing nothing: The humanitarian price of climate change and how it can be avoided, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 2019.
This study estimates the humanitarian needs and financial costs that will be caused by climate change in the coming decades. It presents a pessimistic scenario where investment in adaptation is insufficient and development models are uneven, which estimates at 200 million the number of people who will require aid each year by 2050, which is almost double the current figure. According to the study, if nothing is done, the price to pay will be much higher than any estimates that have been made so far. It recommends that long-term fragility needs to be reduced, early warning systems and relief operations need to be improved, and rebuilding and repair work needs to be carried out in preparation for future emergencies.
Santé et changements climatiques : Soigner une humanité à +2°, French Red Cross, December 2019.
In April 2019, 500 people from 70 countries gathered at the instigation of the French Red Cross to discuss the topic of ‘Health and climate change: caring for humanity at +2°C’. Scientists, academics, humanitarians, political figures, entrepreneurs, future leaders, and members of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement exchanged views during twelve sessions on a wide variety of themes including heatwaves in urban contexts, mental health, epidemics, population movement, food insecurity, the protection of ecosystems, etc. This document presents the main ideas developed during this global conference as well as the concrete and innovative solutions that were proposed.
Climate Change and Health: an urgent new frontier for humanitarianism, Bruno Jochum et al., Médecins Sans Frontières, The Lancet, 2018.
This analysis, which looks at the links between climate change and health, highlights the significant consequences that are already taking place, as well as the dangerous levels of humanitarian need that are likely if greenhouse gas emissions are not urgently brought into line with the Paris Agreement. This document is based on the field experience of Médecins Sans Frontières in managing the consequences of extreme climatic conditions, such as the transmission of diseases, malnutrition and the impacts on migrants.
Adaptation and resilience
Climate action pathway: Resilience and adaptation, Executive Summary, Global Climate Action, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), 2019.
Faced with the uncertainties and risks related to climate change, this document underlines three objectives: resilient people and communities who will be able to adapt as well as possible; resilient ecosystems and protected biodiversity in order to guarantee, among other things, access to water and food; and lastly, resilient economies and investment, where climate risk is mainstreamed into all public and private sector plans and investments including into agriculture, infrastructure, transport, water, energy systems, etc.
Adapt now: A global call for leadership on climate resilience, The Global Commission on Adaptation, 2019.
This report from the Global Commission on Adaptation, presided by Ban Ki-Moon, explores the different issues related to climate change adaptation and makes recommendations for key sectors such as food security, the natural environment, water, cities, infrastructure, disaster risk management, and finance. It aims to inspire action among heads of state and government officials, mayors, business executives, investors, and community leaders.
Delivering climate resilience programmes in fragile and conflict-affected contexts: a synopsis of learning on the ground, A. Neaverson, C. Gould and K. Peters, BRACED report, ODI, November 2019.
This review explores how climate resilience programmes and projects can be designed, established and managed to be resilient themselves in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. It combines evidence-based learning from over four years of implementation from 15 projects across 13 countries (including Mali, Niger, Myanmar and South Sudan). The review is structured around three themes: anticipating operational risks by improving understanding of local contexts; absorbing impacts by building resilience, conflict sensitivity and a ‘Do No Harm’ approach into the project cycle of climate resilience programmes; and aligning risk tolerance and project flexibility between donors and implementing partners, based on trust and clear communication, and establishing adaptive approaches and flexible funding mechanisms that enable the rapid adjustment of activities during crises.
Addressing Climate-Fragility Risks: Linking peacebuilding, climate change adaptation, and sustainable livelihoods, Guidance Note, Adelphi, UNEP, 2019.
This Guidance Note takes as its premise that climate change is one of the greatest threats to global peace and security in the 21st century. It underlines the need to adopt integrated approaches to tackle the risks related to climate fragility. It aims to help develop resilience building strategies and policies while taking into account the connection between climate change adaptation, peace-building and sustainable livelihoods.
This document is complemented by a monitoring and evaluation guide and a toolbox:
The 2017 Nepal flood response: resources beyond international humanitarian assistance, Barnaby Willitts-King, Anita Ghimire, HPG Working Paper, ODI, 2019.
Even though international humanitarian aid is often the most visible form of aid, it is not always the most significant for those affected by a crisis, either in terms of quantity or quality. This paper investigates how affected people coped with the impact of floods in southern Nepal in 2017, and shows that the response of the Western international system (the UN and INGOs) played only a minor role, accounting for around a sixth of the resources that affected households said they received. It makes recommendations for ways to use date more effectively in order to better understand the networks that fill the gaps where international humanitarian assistance does not reach, in turn informing the development of disaster risk management.
“Local responses to disasters: recent lessons from zero-order responders”, Fernando Briones, Ryan Vachon, Michael Glantz, Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, 2018.
This article focuses on the role of ‘zero-order responders’ during disasters. In the initial stages of a disaster, even before the rescue services arrive, survivors play a central role and make crucial decisions based on their own resources and skills. These considerations can provide humanitarian actors with useful lessons, for example in terms of disaster risk reduction and disaster management, which need to include local populations and knowledge more, and improve partnerships between communities and aid organisations. The authors based their research on two case studies: Peru after the 2017 floods, and Porto Rico after hurricanes Irma and Maria, also in 2017.
Financial tools linked to risks and adaptation
Climate Finance for Addressing Loss and Damage: How to Mobilize Support for Developing Countries to Tackle Loss and Damage, Thomas Hirsch et al., Act Alliance, World Council of Churches, The Lutheran World Federation, Bread for The World, 2019.
This report addresses the injustice of climate change with regard to vulnerable people, particularly in countries in the Global South who, for the most part, have contributed least to greenhouse gas emissions, but who are paying the highest price. The authors point out that current financial mechanisms are not sufficient to avoid losses and damage, and they analyse various criteria that could be applied in order to develop a strategy to fund losses and damages that is ethical, fair and effective.
Budget Governance for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation under Nepal’s New Federal System, Policy Brief, Flood Resilience Alliance, Mercy Corps, 2019.
This document presents the results of the study carried out by the NGO, Mercy Corps, in seven municipalities in Nepal to understand the role of local governments in the new political system. Nepal is exposed to multiple risks due to its geographical location (drought, flooding and mudslides). Recently, the country established a new governance system whereby municipal authorities are responsible for issues related to climate change adaptation, as well as disaster risk reduction and management, areas where local government investment is essential.
Ecosystem-based Adaptation and Insurance: Success, Challenges and Opportunities, M. Beck, O. Quast, K. Pfliegner, GIZ, 2019.
Both Ecosystem-based Adaptation and Climate Risk Finance & Insurance can be used to enhance adaptation, reduce and transfer risk, and build resilience to the growing impacts from natural and human-made hazards. Engagement between the insurance and environmental sectors is relatively new and few fully integrated climate risk finance & insurance and ecosystem-based adaptation products currently exist. This report shows that there are many common interests and significant opportunities which could help improve integration of climate risk finance & insurance with ecosystem-based Adaptation and more broadly Nature-based Solutions. These can lead to innovations that are beneficial to both sectors and, most importantly, to improved resilience outcomes for vulnerable people and for nature. The majority of the case studies in the report concern coastal environments.