Design for Future Climate: Opportunities for Adaptation in the Built Environment

 

The Earth’s climate is changing – wetter winters and drier summers will affect existing buildings and alter the requirements of new ones. Whatever the cause of climate change, we will need to adapt our buildings so that they can cope with higher temperatures, more extreme weather and changes in rainfall.

The Technology Strategy Board of Innovate UK has developed the report 'Design for Future Climate: Opportunities for adaptation in the built environment' in order to assist the construction sector to construct buildings that are energy efficient and resilient towards flooding, heat and drought. The report describes the main climate change impacts on buildings and demonstrates studies, projects and initiatives on climate proof building designs.

The report concludes that the construction industry is requesting government to develop a coherent framework to enable design teams to develop and test new and holistic adaptation strategies.

Expanding vulnerability assessment for public lands: The social complement to ecological approaches

In recent years, federal land management agencies in the United States have been tasked to consider climate change vulnerability and adaptation in their planning. Ecological vulnerability approaches have been the dominant framework, but these approaches have significant limitations for fully understanding vulnerability in complex social-ecological systems in and around multiple-use public lands. In this paper, we describe the context of United States federal public lands management with an emphasis on the Bureau of Land Management to highlight this unique decision-making context. We then assess the strengths and weaknesses of an ecological vulnerability approach for informing decisionmaking. Next, we review social vulnerability methods in the context of public lands to demonstrate what these approaches can contribute to our understanding of vulnerability, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. Finally, we suggest some key design principles for integrated social-ecological vulnerability assessments considering the context of public lands management, the limits of ecological vulnerability assessment, and existing approaches to social vulnerability assessment. We argue for the necessity of including social vulnerability in a more integrated social-ecological approach in order to better inform climate change adaptation.

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Candidate, M.S. in Environmental Studies
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Research Associate

CED provides nationally-accredited, inventive, and demanding programs in landscape architecture, historic preservation, environmental planning & design, and environmental ethics. At CED, our students cultivate not only the skills they need to work as professional designers and practitioners, but the individual passions they have to make a difference in their world.

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Coastal Program Coordinator - S Florida

Disasters and National Economic Resilience

This paper provides an analysis of economic resilience at the national level, presenting a broad picture of changes in resilience to climate extremes over a 42 year period. It focuses on 12 countries in the Sahel, East Africa and Asia that are part of the UK Government funded resilience programme BRACED (Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters).

In this paper, authors create a typology of risk for countries that can be used to inform approaches to building resilience. Burkina Faso and Mali, for example, have a ‘mono-risk’ profile as they have experienced relatively few events, whereas Nepal has a ‘multi-risk’ profile and has experienced various disasters over the 42 year period analysed. Meanwhile, droughts have had a disproportionate effect compared with other climate-related hazards, especially in Africa, whereas floods have been very frequent.

This paper looks at how the national economies of different sets of developing countries are affected by disasters and have been able to ‘bounce back’ afterwards. The findings confirm a negative significant effect of disasters on economic growth: a climate event that affects 1% of the population contributes to a reduction in gross domestic product of 0.05% on average. In particular, the negative effects of climate-induced events are highly significant and important in landlocked countries, a category that includes many BRACED countries. More specifically

Science Summary: Heat wave in Phalodi, India, 19 May 2016

On Thursday 19 May 2016, India experienced an all-time record high temperature for any calendar day. The high temperature reached 51°C in the city of Phalodi in the Jodhpur district of the state of Rajasthan. By some accounts it was the third-highest temperature ever documented globally. It was so hot that many residents of this city of about 50,000 simply remained indoors. Those who did venture outside in Gujarat’s Valsad found their sandals sticking to molten roads.

Temperatures were high across much of Rajasthan on that day, with a majority of stations recording maximum temperatures above 46°C. The state capital of Jaipur saw its hottest day in the past 11 years, with a maximum temperature of 46.5°C, while Delhi, India’s capital, reached 46.8°C.

The Raising Risk Awareness Project – delivered by CDKN with the World Weather Attribution initiative – undertook an analysis of whether human-induced climate change had contributed to the heat wave event – to inform decision-makers whether such  heat waves are more likely to happen in the future. The analysis found that:

  • Consistent with human-caused climate change, annual mean temperatures across India are increasing.
  • Heat waves in a relatively small area of India are becoming more frequent and more intense, but this is not true for most of the country.
  • On 19 May 2016, the city of Phalodi in Rajasthan set an all-time record for any calendar day, hitting 51°C.
  • This analysis used peer-reviewed methods to see if climate change is affecting the risk of record heat like that on 19 May 2016 in north-western India, and like that of a similar one-day heat event in Andhra Pradesh in May 2015.
  • The analysis did not find that human-induced climate change played a role in these individual heat waves. This runs counter to studies done on similar extreme heat events in other parts of the world.
  • The lack of a detectable climate change trend may be due to the masking effect of aerosols on warming, and on irrigation use.

Science Summary: Heat wave in Phalodi, India, 19 May 2016

On Thursday 19 May 2016, India experienced an all-time record high temperature for any calendar day. The high temperature reached 51°C in the city of Phalodi in the Jodhpur district of the state of Rajasthan. By some accounts it was the third-highest temperature ever documented globally. It was so hot that many residents of this city of about 50,000 simply remained indoors. Those who did venture outside in Gujarat’s Valsad found their sandals sticking to molten roads.

Temperatures were high across much of Rajasthan on that day, with a majority of stations recording maximum temperatures above 46°C. The state capital of Jaipur saw its hottest day in the past 11 years, with a maximum temperature of 46.5°C, while Delhi, India’s capital, reached 46.8°C.

The Raising Risk Awareness Project – delivered by CDKN with the World Weather Attribution initiative – undertook an analysis of whether human-induced climate change had contributed to the heat wave event – to inform decision-makers whether such  heat waves are more likely to happen in the future. The analysis found that:

  • Consistent with human-caused climate change, annual mean temperatures across India are increasing.
  • Heat waves in a relatively small area of India are becoming more frequent and more intense, but this is not true for most of the country.
  • On 19 May 2016, the city of Phalodi in Rajasthan set an all-time record for any calendar day, hitting 51°C.
  • This analysis used peer-reviewed methods to see if climate change is affecting the risk of record heat like that on 19 May 2016 in north-western India, and like that of a similar one-day heat event in Andhra Pradesh in May 2015.
  • The analysis did not find that human-induced climate change played a role in these individual heat waves. This runs counter to studies done on similar extreme heat events in other parts of the world.
  • The lack of a detectable climate change trend may be due to the masking effect of aerosols on warming, and on irrigation use.

Driving, connecting and communicating: The many roles of national government in climate adaptation planning

This policy brief is part of a broader knowledge package on climate change adaptation in the Caribbean developed by the Climate & Development Knowledge Network (CDKN).

The full package, which also comprises a video and an infographic, can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/2moK7qn