Inland waterway transport is vulnerable to climate change because river navigation depends on precipitation and water levels for its operations. There have been low and high water periods over the last 200 years and this will continue to occur in the future. Extreme events may become more frequent. Learning from the rivers, inland waterway authorities are preparing step-by-step for a changing climate that continues to enable shipping. Adaptation to climate requires action at the level of the fleet, logistics and infrastructure as well as more cross-sectoral coordination.
To help raise awareness of these important issues, and to encourage key players to take action, NavClimate supporter organisations Inland Navigation Europe (INE) and European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP) have launched a Statement on Climate change adaptation. Find out more at http://www.inlandnavigation.eu/news/infrastructure/ine-and-efip%E2%80%99s-recommendations-for-the-eu-climate-change-adaptation-strategy/
Great to see The Economist picking up on the #NavClimate survey to draw attention to the urgent need for action, by ports, to adapt to climate change and extreme weather events ...
Navigating a Changing Climate and SedNet (the European sediment network (see https://sednet.org/) are collaborating to run a workshop entitled “Addressing climate change challenges with sediment management”.
The workshop is planned to be held in Rome, Italy, on 10-11 February 2021 but may be moved to an online event depending on how the COVID-19 situation evolves.
The aim of the workshop is to facilitate knowledge exchange, disseminate good practice, highlight opportunities, and identify gaps in understanding or research needs in relation to the following topics, with an emphasis on ports, waterways, dredging and associated infrastructure/activities:
1. Role of sediment management in carbon sequestration and storage: opportunities to contribute to a net reduction in GHG emissions
2. Sediments and climate change adaptation: seeking flexible and adaptive solutions to strengthen resilience and adapt port and navigation infrastructure and operations
3. Habitat enhancement and creation, Working with Nature and other nature-based solutions: using nature to strengthen the natural resilience of ports and waterways including sediment use (e.g. sand-engine and dunes) for protection against flooding
4. Sediment management, circular economy and the waste hierarchy: reduce (e.g. reduce the need for extraction of virgin aggregate); reuse (e.g. shift perceptions of sediment from a waste to a resource); recycle (e.g. optimising sediment placement)
5. Emerging issues and opportunities: enabling contributors to the workshop to offer presentations on other sediment management and climate change-related topics, such as how to prevent climate change-induced flooding eroding and remobilising historically contaminated sediments and soils from upstream river banks and transporting them downstream; or how changed environmental conditions may affect sediment quality guidelines.
Those interested in making a presentation at this workshop are encouraged to use the provided template to prepare and submit a one-page abstract, following the procedure set out in the attached or accessible via https://sednet.org/news/
Navigating a Changing Climate was represented at London Climate Week (1st - 3rd July 2020) by Jan Brooke, NavClimate Focal Point and Chair of PIANC's Permanent Task Group on Climate Change.
Jan attended several virtual sessions on Adaptation and Resilience where speakers included Ministers, policy makers, scientists, financiers and practitioners. Some of the common themes and key messages arising from these sessions related to the lessons to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic, the urgency of adaptation action, the incorporation of climate risks in investment decision making, and the need to tackle the adaptation financing gap ...
1. COVID-19 lessons learned
- COVID-19 has shown we are not resilient. ‘None of us is resilient until we are all resilient’.
- We must keep the pressure on for a green, inclusive and resilient recovery – ‘we have a window to act, so let’s use it wisely’. The EU Green Deal is a good example.
2. Time to act
- ‘We need to act on the science. The world was warned about the likelihood of a pandemic – there have been many other pertinent warnings, including on climate ...’. The IPCC has warned that we are on course for a warming in excess of 3 degrees warming by end of the century
- ‘We have been planning for the future in the mistaken belief that it will resemble the past’
- There is an urgent need to translate political commitments into on-the-ground action - tackling climate change is an existential issue (e.g. for SIDS) – ‘we do not have the luxury of time’
- Whilst there are clear leaders, making the jump to mainstreaming adaptation implementation remains a major challenge
- ‘We know that, with early warning and careful planning, we can significantly reduce impacts’
- The ‘case for nature-based solutions has never been stronger’
3. Climate risks and investment decision making
- ‘There is insufficient urgency in the call for investment in adaptation and resilience – the current approach is piecemeal and (unlike decarbonisation) there are currently no real incentives’
- There is a disconnect between long term climate risks and short-term investment imperatives
- The risks are perceived as ‘being lower, because insurance or government will step in. This perception leads to inaction’
- ‘Climate risk disclosure is key but is currently inadequate’: there is a need for more understanding and more depth; for greater granularity; and for improved information on physical risks
- Climate risk and adaptation costs need to be embedded in finance decisions on every development
- Integrating projections into financial forecasting is a challenge, especially when the past is a poor indicator of the future
- ‘More effort is needed to monetise the consequences of not acting; and to understand the benefits of improved resilience, including the societal benefits’. This is a major challenge to overcome
4. Adaptation financing
- ‘The situation regarding adaptation funding is woeful’ – this is a problem for both the private sector and the public sector. Furthermore, the most vulnerable often have least access to finance
- There is a massive adaptation financing gap – $250-300 billion USD is needed by 2030 for adaptation in developing countries alone – private sector investment will be critical ...
COVID-19 or climate change?*
Take a look at the list below ... Could it be that the bullet points represent some of the lessons the ports and navigation sector has already learned from the current COVID-19 crisis?
In fact, the list is taken from Table 19 in PIANC’s recent WG 178 technical publication on Climate change adaptation planning for ports and inland waterways  and reflected in PIANC’s Declaration on Climate Change . The generic but practical measures on the list are amongst those recommended to help the navigation sector accommodate changing climatic conditions and the anticipated increase in the frequency and severity of extreme events.
Resilience, flexibility, adaptive capacity, redundancy ... COVID-19 has focussed our attention on the vital importance of these characteristics. They are also crucial for climate change adaptation.
Let’s not forget about them when the current public health crisis is over.
Jan Brooke, Chair, PIANC Permanent Task Group on Climate Change (PTGCC)
*Article taken from the April 2020 PIANC e-newsletter 'Sailing Ahead'
Readers in the EU may be interested to know that the European Commission is consulting on the proposed new EU climate change adaptation strategy, to be launched as part of the Green Deal. The strategy will focus on encouraging investment in eco-friendly solutions; climate-proofing the economy; making key infrastructure more resilient; adding climate factors to risk management practice; and stepping up prevention & preparedness.
You can comment on the Road Map and/or respond to the consultation at https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12381-EU-Strategy-on-Adaptation-to-Climate-Change
+ + + + SUBMISSION DEADLINE EXTENDED TO 30 JUNE 2020 + + + +
The European Federation of Inland Ports and thinkport VIENNA have extended the deadline to answer the Open Innovation Challenge.
With your idea we will achieve Europe’s transport, environmental and climate targets for 2030 and 2050! You have the competence for sustainable solutions when it comes to strategies and approaches to achieve the climate goals! Support the European inland ports in making a sustainable and active contribution to achieve the climate targets!
Together with you, we will collect ideas on how European inland ports, in their role as multimodal transport hubs, can contribute to achieve the European climate targets.
For more please visit: https://www.thinkportvienna.at/projects/inlandports-openinnovation/?lang=en
Resilience refers to the capacity to anticipate and plan for disruptions, resist loss in operations and/or absorb their impacts, rapidly recover afterwards, and adapt to changing conditions and constraints. The properties of resilient systems are not new, but in the last decade increases in the disruptions and constraints affecting the Maritime and Inland Waterborne Transport System (MIWTS) have prompted further investigation into how to incorporate them into research, management, and operations.
The global spread of a novel coronavirus in 2019 (COVID-19) highlights the critical importance of making sure that the MIWTS is prepared to provide the functions of moving goods and people throughout unimaginable interruptions and crises spanning from the environment, to infrastructure systems, labor relations, human errors, and public health. Ports and harbors must plan and adapt to both long-term disturbances, such as climate change, and short-term disturbances such as natural disasters and increasingly frequent and intense storms and flooding on inland waterways. If not adequately addressed, these disturbances can cause major national and international disruptions. However, proper planning and mitigation to minimize disruptions and speed recovery from these and other potential hazards and constraints will serve to increase the resilience of the MIWTS.
This new report presents the results of Task Group 193’s review of pertinent documentation, PIANC and third-party reports and publications, unpublished reports and tools, and the practical experience and expertise of the Task Group 193 members. The objective of the report is to provide an understanding of resilience of the MIWTS, summarize knowledge to-date, and highlight future needs through the definition of key terms and a series of case studies, and finally, identify best practices and resilience-related decision-support tools.
The report also describes the relationship between resilience and other systems management concepts including sustainability, risk, and vulnerability.
The report can be accessed at https://www.pianc.org/publications/envicom/tg193. PIANC members can download the report free-of-charge. Otherwise there is a charge. However, note that for only € 95,00 (€ 35,00 for students ) you can become an individual member of PIANC. Individual members receive a login and password to access the members-only pages, from where all the published (English) PIANC reports can be downloaded FOR FREE. Find out more at https://www.pianc.org/join-pianc
Sea-locked Small Island States rely on well-functioning and reliable transport systems, and therefore face particular challenges when it comes to climate change. It was thus a privilege for Jan Brooke representing @PIANC1 and #NavClimate to take part in the breakout group on Enhancing Action in Sustainable Transport as part of the Placencia Ambition Forum, a virtual event organised by the Alliance of Small Island States on April 20-22.
The Placencia Ambition Forum was introduced by the Prime Minister of Belize, who noted that unlike COVID-19 there will be no vaccine for or immunity from the implications of climate change. The forum reflected on the lessons already learned from the ongoing public health crisis, but stressed the need for continued urgent attention to climate change action.
Specifically with regard to transport and transport infrastructure, some of the key messages coming out of the discussions were:
Find out more at https://www.aosis.org/about-2/ or contact
Ministers responsible for waterborne transport policy in the EU have welcomed the European Commission’s Communication on the European Green Deal and, in this context have agreed to work towards a carbon-neutral and zero pollution waterborne transport sector.
#NavClimate Supporter organisation the European Boating Industry reports that EU Transport Ministers approved the ‘Opatija Declaration’ at their meeting in mid-March. The Declaration outlines the measures for the EU Member States in their development of maritime policy in the coming decade. It focuses especially on the protection of the marine environment, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and further digitisation in maritime and inland navigation.
The Declaration is based on five key points: 1) Environmental protection, 2) Digitisation, 3) Human resources, 4) security and 5) competitiveness. The full declaration can be found for download at https://eu2020.hr/Home/DocumentDownload/206