Green IT

CSIR offers online climate risk profiling tool

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The Green Book provides details about a municipality's temperature, rainfall, flood, drought and population projections.
The Green Book provides details about a municipality's temperature, rainfall, flood, drought and population projections.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has launched an online tool to provide local municipalities with guidelines on how to adapt human settlements to withstand the impact of climate change.

Launched on Friday, the Green Book is an applied knowledge resource that forecasts to the year 2050, by providing quantitative scientific climate change projections to determine the impact it will have on towns and cities across SA.

The development of the Green Book is a three-year project commissioned by the Canadian International Development Research Centre. It combines the expertise of researchers in climatology, demography, disaster risk sciences, environmental sciences, geography, informatics and urban planning.

The open access, online tool helps municipalities identify and assess which existing adaptation strategies are most valuable for building resilient settlements.

"The Green Book aims to assist decision-makers in the local government sphere to better understand the consequences of climate change, and how to respond to it. It has various sections, such as a story map, risk profile tool, background information section, etc," says CSIR senior researcher and project lead, Willemien van Niekerk.

"Every municipality in SA has a different risk profile and the climate change projection section provides details about the current and future temperature, rainfall, flood, drought, population projections, exposure to climate hazards and its impact on the municipality's key resources that citizens rely on."

The council says from 2016, it has worked with the National Disaster Management Centre, the African Institute for Inclusive Growth, universities, government departments and other peer groups to ensure the book considers all factors and is implementable in settlements that have been identified as high risk.

The Green Book is structured into three main components, notes the CSIR.

The first is a series of interactive national story maps which provide the user with historical information, technical reports and interactive datasets regarding a specific area.

The second component is the municipal "risk profile tool" which provides scientific evidence of the risks each local municipality in SA is likely to face under a changing climate by 2050.

The risk profile tool provides dynamic risk profiles for each municipality and its associated human settlements in SA.

The third component is the municipal "adaptation actions tool", an interactive platform to support adaptation planning in local municipalities.

"The adaptation actions tool provides a range of planning and design actions for municipalities to consider. This includes information on why it is important to plan for climate change; how to deal with uncertainty; and the mechanisms that support climate change adaptation, such as disaster risk reduction, funding mechanisms, capacity building and awareness raising, as well as monitoring and evaluation," notes Van Niekerk.

According to the CSIR, the Green Book contributes to the climate change adaptation policy environment in SA. It was funded by the International Development Research Centre in Canada and the CSIR, in partnership with the National Disaster Management Centre.

"The next phase will focus on rolling-out the Green Book for implementation in municipalities most at risk, identifying gaps in research and development of this kind, and building capacity of officials and departments to deal with climate change adaptation," concludes Van Niekerk.

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