Advances in climate risk assessment: Measuring with Impact Chains

14:00 Tuesday 28 May


Room S13


Elodie Briche (France) 1; Ghislain Dubois (France) 1; Lucie Royer (France) 1; Marc Zebisch (Italy) 2; Stefan Schneiderbauer (Italy) 2; Erich Rome (Germany) 3; Daniel Lückerath (Germany) 3; Ulrike Lehr (Germany) 4

1 - TEC Conseil; 2 - Eurac Research; 3 - Fraunhofer IAIS; 4 - Gesellschaft für Wirtschaftliche Strukturforschung (GWS)

In addition to current climate variability, climate change threatens socio-economic activities and the environment worldwide. Stakeholders and policy makers have expressed a need for robust and reliable Climate Risk Assessments (CRAs) methodologies and tools to develop strategies and actions in order to adapt to the potential impacts of climate change. The German International cooperation (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ) in the Vulnerability Sourcebook (Fritzsche et al., 2014) proposed the concept of impact chain as a standardized approach for CRAs implementation, consistent with the IPCC’s concepts (IPCC AR4, 2007 and/or AR5, 2014). Recently, the concept has been adapted to the new IPCC AR5 concept of climate risk (GIZ and EURAC, 2017) and its application in the framework of ecosystem-based adaptation (GIZ, EURAC, UNU, 2018).

Impact chains (ICs) have since become more and more widely used as a climate risk assessment method, in Europe and abroad (cooperation projects like GIZ, UNDP or World Bank, Horizon 2020 projects like SOCLIMPACT or RESIN), at local or regional or European level, for research and decision making. They provide an analytical tool that helps to better understand, systemize and prioritize the factors that drive climate impact related risks in a specific system of concern and serve as a backbone for an operational climate risk assessment. They allow synthetizing in a diagram the complex relationships between climate hazards, vulnerability (sensitivity and adaptive capacity) and exposure.

This science-practice session will allow bringing discussion on this innovative and integrated approach of ICs, as a conceptual framework allowing to integrate both quantitative and qualitative data from different disciplines. Authors will show how the implementation of ICs can support quick diagnosis but also in-depth and sophisticated modelling using climate projections. The discussion will also focus on the ability of such tool to integrate climate impact and socio-economic models (H2020 Soclimpact project, 2018-2021), at different spatio-temporal scales (GIZ, Bangladesh project, 2016-2018). Their capacity to be cross sectoral and cross scales, allowing to aggregate or downscale risks and compare sectors will be emphasized.

ICs also allow formatting the CRAs’ outcomes in various understandable formats (graphs, maps etc.). Therefore, authors will discuss on how participating approaches and capacity building within the IC methodology can foster a better understanding and ownership of the results while facilitating dialogue between end-beneficiaries to enhance climate change policies, funding and planning.

Target audience

This session is open to the CRAs’ communities of practice, both in the fields of project implementation and applied research (also NGOs, GIZ’s Community of Practice etc.).

This open science-practice discussion will gather feedbacks on qualitative and quantitative applications and uses of ICs, while emphasizing challenges, opportunities and issues brought by this innovative approach. Concrete examples based on different sectors and spatial scales, in different climate change hotspots (e.g islands, developing countries etc.) will nourish the discussion.

Target audience will benefit from an in-depth overview and understanding of the IC approach, and its added value regarding adaptation to climate change.

Proposed format for the session

This session will be an open-discussion empowering interaction between the speakers and the audience. 6 speakers will be involved for 1H15 with 30 minutes dedicated to panel discussions.

The coordinators of the H2020 Soclimpact project, Karl W. Steininger (University of Graz) and Andreas Vettel (German Environmental Agency) (TBC) have been identified as potential contributors to the panel discussion. The following communications will animate the debate:

  • One communication on the methodological aspects of the IC concept (15 min)
  • Two communications covering the qualitative and quantitative parts of the IC method based on IVAVIA (15 min each)
  • One communication on a tailored methodology applied to the Blue Economy considering 4 sectors within 12 islands (15 min)
  • One communication on the benefits of economic modelling within IC for conducting a CRA, data requirements and dealing with data gaps (15 min)

Starting from generic insights in the IC methodology, the discussion will then focus on scientific challenges encountered in the data management and processing while conducting qualitative and/or quantitative CRAs, notably through participatory approaches. Concrete applications at different spatial scales and on different sectors will be exposed to deepen discussions on IC ability to support climate socio-economic and environmental modelling.

Contributing Authors abstracts

1. Marc Zebisch, Stefan Schneiderbauer, Eurac Research, Bolzano, Italy: Climate Risk Assessment with Impact Chains – Methods and Experiences

In this talk we will present methods and results and discuss experiences on CRAs with impact chains on national to sub-national level. The methods are following a general assessment framework which has been developed by Eurac Research for projects with the German Environment Agency and the GIZ.

The concept has been applied in more than ten national climate risk assessments worldwide (E.g. Burundi, Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam, Madagascar) and has been perceived as a very useful tool for analysis as well as for communication of complex cause-effect relationships in climate change impacts and risks.

For an operational risk assessment, impact chains serve as a basis for the selection of appropriate indicators as well as a backbone for the aggregation of indicators to composite risk indicators. Furthermore, they serve as conceptual model to identify entry points for adaptation measures. Operational assessments based on impact chains can combine data and model driven approaches with expert-based approaches. Due to their systematic structure, impact chains are well suited for spatially explicit GIS based assessments.

2. Dr.-Ing. Erich Rome, Fraunhofer IAIS: Introduction to the IVAVIA method, qualitative assessment of climate change impacts on urban systems with IVAVIA

This contribution gives a general introduction to the IVAVIA method and a detailed explanation on how to conduct a qualitative vulnerability assessment using IVAVIA. It begins with a brief motivation for the development of the method as well as an overview of its fundamental concepts and how they relate to each other. It then goes on to introduce the general structure of IVAVIA and explains the distinction between qualitative as well as quantitative vulnerability assessments and when to employ which (combination of) methods. Finally, it gives a detailed explanation about the first three modules of IVAVIA, which constitute a qualitative vulnerability assessment: How to systematically select and document information on relevant hazard, drivers, and stressors; which general conditions need to be clarified before starting the process of conducting a vulnerability assessment (including which stakeholders to involve when); and how to describe the cause-effect relationships between the identified hazards and the exposed objects of interest using impact chains.

3. Dr. Daniel Lückerath, Fraunhofer IAIS: Quantitative assessment of climate change impacts on urban systems with IVAVIA and how to present assessment results

This contribution explains the quantitative modules of IVAVIA in detail. Starting from the result of the qualitative assessment, it explains why and how to identify measurable indicators for the elements affecting the cause-effect relationship between a specific hazard and an exposed object as well as the need for and the obstacles of data acquisition for the identified indicators. It then elaborates on methods to normalize, weight, and aggregate indicators to composite risk components for sensitivity, coping capacity, and vulnerability, before going into detail on how to arrive at a probabilistic risk analysis based on the calculated composite risk components. Finally, methods, tools, and best practices on how to present the results of the assessment process are presented. Each part of the contribution will be supported by practical examples from the experiences with the pilot cities made during the RESIN project.

4. Dr Elodie Briche, TEC-Conseil: Sectoral approaches about impacts chains at scale of EU islands.

The SOCLIMPACT project aims at modelling downscaled Climate Change effects and their economic impacts in European islands and archipelagos in the context of the EU Blue Economy, and to assess corresponding decarbonization and adaptation pathways, thus complementing current available projections for Europe, and nourishing actual economic models with non-market assessment.

This contribution reports on the methodological approach for the definition and selection of ICs and the list of needed climate and economic indicators considering a matrix by islands and sectors. This work makes possible to build the matrix of ICs that can be operationalized during all steps of the Soclimpact project modelling based on a rigorous selection of indicators. The specific requirements for climate, economic and impact models and interlinks between the modelling chains are discussed to present the specific methodological framework.

5. Dr Ulrike Lehr, Institute for Economic Structures Research (GWS), Osnabrück, Germany: Improving economic models with IC assessments and vice versa – the example of Climate Change on EU Islands.

Part of the challenge in the SOCLIMPACT project is the combination of different modelling approaches, methodologies – and philosophies. This contribution focuses on the challenges of combining the Impact Chain (IC) definition and operationalization with the economic modelling approaches followed in the project. The focus lies on the Global Intra-Industry forecasting model GINFORS, which is operated and maintained at GWS.

The contribution will try to answer the question of the benefits of economic modelling for the IC assessment and the benefits of IC assessment for the economic models. Data requirements will be discussed as well as tools to bridge data gaps. The interdisciplinary exchange necessary to bridge these gaps will be reflected on.