The latest news and developments on the implications of climate change for waterborne transport infrastructure. News is added by partners of the the Navigating a Changing Climate Partnership. You can also let us know about the latest developments by emailing us, or by using #navclimate on twitter.
For those with interests in Europe, the Naiades III Action Plan on Inland Navigation was adopted today.
According to the Communication published at https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=COM%3A2021%3A324%3AFIN&qid=1624553618712, the fundamental transformation of European transport systems towards zero-emission mobility requires an integrated multimodal approach explicitly aimed at boosting the uptake of more sustainable and less congested transport modes.
Long recognised as one of the most CO2-efficient modes of transport (per tonnes of goods carried) along with rail, inland waterway transport (IWT) is clearly seen as central to the European Union’s efforts to decarbonise the transport system.
The European Green Deal called for decisive action to shift a substantial part of the freight transported by road (currently accounting for 75% of inland freight) to inland navigation and rail, namely through measures to increase the capacity of inland waterways from 2021. Similarly, the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy adopted on 9 December 2020, which lays the foundation for how the EU transport system can achieve its green and digital transformation and become more resilient to future crises, underlined the need to increase the use of more sustainable transport modes, and indicated that inland waterway transport and short-sea shipping should increase by 25% by 2030 and by 50% by 2050. Zero-emission mobility is also the major objective of the Zero Pollution Action Plan adopted on 12 May 2021.
Read the Action Plan at the above link
Climate change impacts on seaports: A growing threat
Seaports are critical for global trade and sustainable development. They provide access to global markets and supply-chains for all countries, and are integral to maritime transport, as well as fisheries, offshore energy development, and many economic activities in coastal zones. At the same time, ports are particularly exposed to various natural hazards, due to their locations along open coasts or in low-lying estuaries and deltas. Although many climatic hazards can affect seaports (e.g. heat waves, extreme winds and precipitation), mean sea-level rise (SLR) and associated extreme sea-levels (ESLs) pose a particularly important threat, which is growing. A new article by UNCTAD provides an overview of the increasing hazards and impacts of sea level rise on ports under climate change and illustrates the urgent case for action.
Two weeks left to submit your proposal for a presentation!
Working with Nature for Climate-Resilient Ports and Waterways
Online Workshop Sponsored by: PIANC and Navigating a Changing Climate
Likely dates: 14 and/or 15 September 2021
Announcement and request for presentations
PIANC’s Environment Commission (EnviCom) and the Navigating a Changing Climate partners are collaborating to run a workshop entitled Working with Nature for Climate-Resilient Ports and Waterways. This workshop, which will comprise two consecutive half-day sessions, builds on a 2021 workshop run by Navigating a Changing Climate with SedNet (https://sednet.org/) focused on sediment management and climate change.
The workshop Working with Nature for Climate-Resilient Ports and Waterways is designed to facilitate knowledge exchange, disseminate good practice, highlight opportunities, and identify gaps in understanding or research needs in relation to the following themes:
- Scaling Up: How to transition from concept and pilot-scale nature-based solutions to full-scale coastal and inland resiliency projects
- Changing Entrenched Current Practice: How to persuade those who prefer to carry on with business as usual to explore nature-based alternatives to help strengthen resilience to the changing climate
- Making a Business Case: Preparing the case for investment in nature-based solutions including for climate-resilient win-win opportunities
- Finance: How to facilitate public and private sector funding for nature-based climate change adaptation and resiliency projects.
Case studies illustrating both successes and failures are especially welcome.
Those interested in presenting at this workshop are encouraged to prepare a one-page abstract explaining what their presentation would cover and indicating which of the above themes is most relevant. Presentations will be limited to ten minutes. All presenters will then be invited to join a subsequent panel discussion.
The abstract should state the main presenter’s name, affiliation, and email address; and identify co-authors and presenters. Please submit abstracts to and copy to Victor Magar () and Kate Panayotou (). The email title line should be marked with “PIANC‑NavClimate Working with Nature Workshop.” The deadline for abstract submission is 30 June 2021
Until more ports take action [to adapt to rising sea levels and other impacts], shippers will have to navigate a port ecosystem where some facilities are preparing for climate change and others are not: that is the conclusion of a recent article in Supply Chain Dive
The article cites Austin Becker, a professor in The University of Rhode Island's Department of Marine Affairs, referring to the draft findings of a recent survey. Becker notes that while ports such as Los Angeles and New York have begun resiliency planning, they could be in a minority of U.S. ports: "It turns out, there aren't actually that many that have," he said. "There are about 300 or so ports in the U.S. and ... we were able to find about 10 that have gone through a resilience planning process."
In addition to a focus on what is being done or needs to be done to prepare for rising sea levels around the USA, the article also highlights the importance of understanding port-specific inter-dependencies; and stresses how working with partners needs to be a priority. In the absence of adequate preparedness, it finds that the inherent interconnectedness of port systems risks compounding the problem, leaving 'assets such as warehouses, trucking networks and railroads vulnerable to disruptions from climate change and rising sea levels'.
Following the hugely successful joint NavClimate-SedNet workshop 'Sediment management opportunities to address the climate change challenge' (held as an online event in February 2021), the workshop summary document has now been published on the SedNet website (see https://sednet.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Summary-and-outcomes-NavClimate-SedNet.pdf)
This overview report recalls the objective of the workshop, highlights the presentations made in each of the following four sessions, and records the outcomes of the panel discussion/the conclusions reached by participants in the context of key opportunities, challenges and research needs. The four themes were:
- Role of sediment management in carbon sequestration and storage: opportunities to contribute to a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
- Sediments and climate change adaptation: seeking flexible and adaptive solutions to strengthen resilience and adapt port and navigation
infrastructure and operations
- Habitat enhancement and creation, Working-with-Nature and other nature-based solutions
- Sediment management, circular economy and the waste hierarchy: reduce, reuse, recycle
It was clear from the workshop that, whilst there are some barriers to be overcome (including changing perceptions, scaling up and accessing finance), there are also tremendous opportunities
By addressing the challenges and seizing opportunities, everybody involved in sediment management - from port and waterway operators to dredging contractors to researchers - can help make a real difference to reducing emissions, strengthening resilience and facilitating sustainable adaptation to the changing climate.
The May 2021 newsletter of NavClimate, the Navigating a Changing Climate initiative, provides an update on our initiative and highlights various recent activities of the NavClimate partner and supporter organisations. And what a difference a year makes, with so many proposed activities postponed or cancelled, and a whole new way of working as online events become the norm...
The attached newsletter discusses these upcoming events along with news items from SedNet, ESPO, IHMA, Resilience4Ports, UNCTAD, Port of London Authority, EBI and ECFAS.
January 2021 saw the launch of a new H2020 project aiming to develop a new coastal flood awareness system that could become a candidate to join the Copernicus Emergency Management Service. This new tool will demonstrate the feasibility of a European Coastal Flood Awareness System (ECFAS, www.ecfas.eu) that will complement the existing framework for flooding awareness along large trans-national river systems (EFAS). The final aim is to produce a pan-European service to support the activities of coastal communities by collecting user needs and requirements and applying the pre-operational service to several pilot cases in Europe.
ECFAS will provide a much-needed solution to bolster coastal resilience to climate risk and reduce the exposure of populations, infrastructure and services in the coastal zone by monitoring and supporting disaster preparedness, two factors that are fundamental to damage prevention, response and recovery if a storm hits.
End users are a crucial part of ECFAS, as they will help the ECFAS team to understand users' needs and to address them in the design of the European Coastal Flood Awareness System. Through engaging with end users, ECFAS hopes to develop a mutually beneficial collaboration and partnerships for service co-design, co-development, and co-evaluation.
The first ECFAS webinar took place on 12th May. It was an informative session where potential users and stakeholders from the EU Member States could learn more about the project, its potential applications and upcoming activities. The seminar was very successful with over 100 participants from all over Europe, which led to a very interesting and informed questions and answers session that was appreciated by all. The ECFAS team were certainly very pleased with the level of interest from the participants and encourage those who were not able to participate but are interested in the project to contact them by contacting .
ECFAS benefits from the advice and guidance from JRC, EEA, ECMWF, ESA and Mercator Ocean International. It also formally involves the Copernicus User Forum of Italy, Greece, Spain, Germany and France in the ECFAS Users Board.
Interested organisations and individuals can subscribe to ECFAS newsletter here https://ecfas.us7.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=6a1abb9f43e1d6df990e4af62&id=981d4fa82f
Climate change adaptation for seaports in support of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development - UNCTAD expert meeting report published
Drawing on UNCTAD’s earlier related work, the 8th session of the UNCTAD multi-year expert meeting on transport, trade logistics and trade facilitation (27-28 October 2020) focused on the important issue of climate change adaptation for seaports in support of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
Ports are likely to be affected directly and indirectly by climate change-related effects with broader implications for international trade and for the development prospects of the most vulnerable nations, in particular the least developed countries and small island developing states. Given the strategic role of ports as part of the global trading system, and the potential for climate-related damage, disruption and delay across global supply chains – with significant associated costs and economic and trade-related losses – enhancing their climate resilience is a matter of strategic economic importance.
The fully virtual UNCTAD expert meeting provided a timely opportunity to build on current momentum by considering how best to translate ambitious targets into action and to develop concrete policy recommendations that both help to advance the important issue of climate change adaptation for seaports in support of the 2030 Agenda and can serve as inputs for other intergovernmental meetings and processes (see the background note outlining key issues to facilitate the deliberations).
Participants of the UNCTAD meeting included experts from UNCTAD member states, intergovernmental organisations and specialised agencies, NGOs, academia and the private sector. The two-day meeting included panel discussions covering a wide range of topics (programme), including the challenges associated with climate change impacts and adaptation for ports, key issues and experiences along with recent developments and national experiences, as well as cross-cutting issues (e.g. energy efficiency and climate change mitigation) with a special session dedicated to the special case of small island developing States and other small island economies. The UNCTAD secretariat presented key messages and recommendations as submitted by the panellists to facilitate the interactive discussion.
The severity of the potential impacts on seaports and other coastal transport infrastructure was highlighted by many panellists, along with the important economic costs of inaction and the risks to sustainable development, in particular for the most vulnerable, including small island developing States. It was reiterated that climate-related risks for seaports needed to be approached as a business risk (rather than only an environmental risk) and the immediate challenges posed by the global health pandemic should not divert attention from the threats posed by climate change. It was clear based on the expert discussions that much was at stake and the need to adapt and strengthen the climate resilience of seaports was both important and urgent. Failure to adapt was not an option, yet effective adaptation required an understanding of the risks at the local and facility levels and the development of appropriate technical solutions, as well as finance and capacity-building, coordinated policy responses and supportive legal and regulatory approaches. Further information, presentations of experts and documentation, including the report of the meeting in all UN languages is available on the meetings website https://unctad.org/meeting/multi-year-expert-meeting-transport-trade-logistics-and-trade-facilitation-eighth-session.
A recent UNCTAD Report, Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation for Coastal Transport Infrastructure: A Compilation of Policies and Practices is also available electronically at https://unctad.org/system/files/official-document/dtltlb2019d1_en.pdf .
At the end of phase one of their Resilience4Ports project, The Resilience Shift has launched a new report on the resilience of ports.
The report, 'Resilience4Ports: Gateways to a resilient future’ identifies 36 current and future trends and developments facing ports and examines the four main drivers of change: decarbonisation, technological change, ports communities and the environment impacting the ports ecosystem. It explains why resilience can provide a uniting force for action on multiple transformations currently facing the ports industry and the wider ports ecosystem, and identifies four action areas for cross-industry collaboration to help drive change and address the challenges:
- Learn the lessons from Covid-19 and Brexit on how ports respond to shocks and stresses so the industry can better respond to future crises.
- Develop guidance for an integrated approach to intersecting port transformations and resilience challenges.
- Promote port investment that enhances whole system resilience, increases flow of finance to where it is most needed and maximises system-level benefits
- Convene the ports' value chain to understand and shape resilience including port specific resilience appraisal and enhancements.
The key message is: Ports are key to delivering a prosperous, low-carbon, resilient future. A whole-systems approach is what is needed to deliver that transformation.
More information can be found at https://www.resilienceshift.org/resilience4ports-gateways-to-a-resilient-future/
The new EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change, Building a Climate-Resilient Future, has been published today, 24 February 2021. The Strategy and associated resources can be accessed via https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_663
This EU Strategy sets out a pathway 'to prepare for the unavoidable impacts of climate change'. The Press Release notes that 'While the EU does everything within its power to mitigate climate change, domestically and internationally, we must also get ready to face its unavoidable consequences. From deadly heatwaves and devastating droughts, to decimated forests and coastlines eroded by rising sea levels, climate change is already taking its toll in Europe and worldwide. Building on the 2013 Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, the aim of today's proposals is to shift the focus from understanding the problem to developing solutions, and to move from planning to implementation'.
PIANC's Climate Change Adaptation Guidance can also now be accessed via the EU's ClimateADAPT portal - see https://climate-adapt.eea.europa.eu/metadata/guidances/climate-change-adaptation-planning-for-ports-and-inland-waterways