A couple of things have crystalized for me over the last couple of months, driven primarily by work with several Multi-Lateral Development Banks (MDBs), and further developed this week with exposure to a very bright group of investment managers looking for ways they can identify opportunities for adaptation for SMEs in Nepal and Bangladesh.
One of the difficulties encountered by many projects involved in responses to climate change, is the lack of reliable long-term data that can form a baseline for improvement. We can usually only capture static information for a relatively recent 'time slice', which makes prediction of trends almost impossible. We can see that, for example, something is getting more or less, higher or lower, longer or shorter, richer or poorer, larger or smaller, but we can't say what that represents in a long-term trend. Where we do, the mathematics and especially, statistics, of regression analysis and the analysis of variance, are (sadly) often beyond the ken of many scientists let alone the average person in the street, and the mass media that is supposedly informing them.
It would be easy to say that evidence-based approaches to almost everything are better than those that are purely intuitive. As we all know, if we are prepared to admit it, a great deal of what gets done actually lacks evidence and is based on intuition. From time-to-time, it is valuable for researchers to dig into current practice and see whether it is effective and, if not, to establish why.
Our street has trees all down one side (they hide the tiny railway track). They glow green in the Spring and are brilliant yellows and oranges in the Autumn, and they’re fantastic. But they do drop leaves. Lots and lots of leaves. When the council had a lot of money that wasn’t an issue, because street-cleaners would appear, and the leaves would magically disappear.
What can we take home from this implementation COP? Marrakesh was always going to be about the process of translating the Paris agreement into a detailed blueprint for action. Few of the thorny issues were wrapped up. Progress is expected to be reviewed in 2017, although exactly how is subject to further discussion. Parties agreed to continue to discuss finance and the future of the Adaptation Fund. And plans further work plans. Curiously, the host of the next COP was only settled at the end with Fiji taking the role albeit using the facilities in Bonn.