Nav: Home

More bang for the climate buck: study identifies hotspots for adaptation funding

March 27, 2019

Climate change is already making life harder on farmers, especially in developing nations. New sources of funding can help alleviate the burden but resources are limited. So where should governments, philanthropists and development agencies prioritize investment?

Using a combination of the latest crop models and local expertise from farmers and others--and applying them to our current trajectory of high greenhouse gas emissions--scientists built a tool to assess climate risk vulnerability to help pinpoint communities most in need of support for adaptation and mitigation.

The study was carried out in Vietnam, Uganda and Nicaragua--developing countries that embody many of the climate shocks in store for the coming decades, including propensity for droughts, floods and high-temperature extremes--by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). The findings were published March 27 in PLOS ONE.

The crop models in this study simulate the climate suitability of specific crops, including rice, maize, beans, coffee and cacao, under current and future climate conditions.

Vulnerability assessments already exist but the Climate Risk Vulnerability Assessment (CRVA) is novel in its focus on integrating a wide range of natural hazards, crops, and factors indicating social vulnerability into a standardized score. The fine resolution of outputs, which allows users to pinpoint hotspots as small as a district in Vietnam, for instance, will be useful for national policymakers and others who must decide which areas of a country to prioritize for support. CRVA is designed to be robust, replicable, and flexible enough to accommodate limitations in data-scarce countries, drawing on national datasets where possible.

"CRVA is a big step forward for decision-makers, especially in countries across the tropics that are hard-hit by climate change," said Peter Läderach, a CCAFS researcher and study co-author at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). "It has major potential to increase the efficiency of climate-related development projects for the most vulnerable smallholder farmers."

What is vulnerability?

The study uses the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) definition of vulnerability. This conceptualizes vulnerability as a combination of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity. Exposure comprises natural hazards, sensitivity is the projected changes in climate and their impact on key agricultural crops, and adaptive capacity is a community's ability to deal with the potential impact.

Using a high-emissions scenario, the study assesses exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity to climate change in the three study regions. It projects climate impacts by 2050 on the crops included in the study.

"While climate change impacts on dominant crops will have global and national ramifications, marginalized, poor communities that rely on small-scale agriculture will be the most affected," said Louis Parker, the study's lead author. "CRVA goes a step further in helping to identify where those vulnerable communities are."

Pinpointing climate vulnerability hotspots

The authors applied CRVA in Vietnam, Uganda and Nicaragua, three contrasting developing countries that are particularly threatened by climate change and have significant proportions of their labor forces and economies dedicated to agriculture.

In Vietnam, for example, the methodology was used to map climate change vulnerability and underlying drivers. The results pointed to three critical areas for agriculture as vulnerability hotspots: the Mekong Delta, northwest region and central highlands. By 2050, over 95 percent of the Mekong Delta--the main rice-growing region for Vietnam, the world's fifth largest rice producer--will lose climatic suitability for rice cultivation, and have higher exposure do drought and sea level rise. But already-developed infrastructure and comparatively high levels of education mean the region is marked by a relatively high adaptive capacity.

"Both the approach and information derived from the study can inform decision-makers and NGOs on ensuring strategic interventions that are targeted to best support rural communities most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change," said Parker.

Not only does this kind of mapping and prioritization ensure that resources are being funneled to where they are needed most, but it is also an important step towards attracting the bi- and multi-lateral support that developing countries urgently need for climate change adaptation.
-end-
Funding and partners

The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) - led by CIAT - contributed funding to this project, which is carried out with support from CGIAR Fund Donors and through bilateral funding agreements. For details, please visit https://ccafs.cgiar.org/donors.

The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) is a CGIAR research center. CIAT develops technologies, innovative methods and knowledge that enable farmers, especially smallholders, to make agriculture more competitive, profitable, sustainable and resilient. Headquartered in Cali, Colombia, CIAT conducts research for development in tropical regions of Latin America, Africa, and Asia. https://ciat.cgiar.org

CGIAR is a global research partnership for a food-secure future. Its science is carried out by 15 research centers in collaboration with hundreds of partners across the globe. https://www.cgiar.org

International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

Related Climate Change Articles:

Mapping the path of climate change
Predicting a major transition, such as climate change, is extremely difficult, but the probabilistic framework developed by the authors is the first step in identifying the path between a shift in two environmental states.
Small change for climate change: Time to increase research funding to save the world
A new study shows that there is a huge disproportion in the level of funding for social science research into the greatest challenge in combating global warming -- how to get individuals and societies to overcome ingrained human habits to make the changes necessary to mitigate climate change.
Sub-national 'climate clubs' could offer key to combating climate change
'Climate clubs' offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally harmonized climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.
Review of Chinese atmospheric science research over the past 70 years: Climate and climate change
Over the past 70 years since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, Chinese scientists have made great contributions to various fields in the research of atmospheric sciences, which attracted worldwide attention.
A CERN for climate change
In a Perspective article appearing in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tim Palmer (Oxford University), and Bjorn Stevens (Max Planck Society), critically reflect on the present state of Earth system modelling.
Fairy-wrens change breeding habits to cope with climate change
Warmer temperatures linked to climate change are having a big impact on the breeding habits of one of Australia's most recognisable bird species, according to researchers at The Australian National University (ANU).
Believing in climate change doesn't mean you are preparing for climate change, study finds
Notre Dame researchers found that although coastal homeowners may perceive a worsening of climate change-related hazards, these attitudes are largely unrelated to a homeowner's expectations of actual home damage.
Older forests resist change -- climate change, that is
Older forests in eastern North America are less vulnerable to climate change than younger forests, particularly for carbon storage, timber production, and biodiversity, new research finds.
Could climate change cause infertility?
A number of plant and animal species could find it increasingly difficult to reproduce if climate change worsens and global temperatures become more extreme -- a stark warning highlighted by new scientific research.
Predicting climate change
Thomas Crowther, ETH Zurich identifies long-disappeared forests available for restoration across the world.
More Climate Change News and Climate Change Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Uncharted
There's so much we've yet to explore–from outer space to the deep ocean to our own brains. This hour, Manoush goes on a journey through those uncharted places, led by TED Science Curator David Biello.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#555 Coronavirus
It's everywhere, and it felt disingenuous for us here at Science for the People to avoid it, so here is our episode on Coronavirus. It's ok to give this one a skip if this isn't what you want to listen to right now. Check out the links below for other great podcasts mentioned in the intro. Host Rachelle Saunders gets us up to date on what the Coronavirus is, how it spreads, and what we know and don't know with Dr Jason Kindrachuk, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and infectious diseases at the University of Manitoba. And...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 1: Numbers
In a recent Radiolab group huddle, with coronavirus unraveling around us, the team found themselves grappling with all the numbers connected to COVID-19. Our new found 6 foot bubbles of personal space. Three percent mortality rate (or 1, or 2, or 4). 7,000 cases (now, much much more). So in the wake of that meeting, we reflect on the onslaught of numbers - what they reveal, and what they hide.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.