Select Committee on International Development Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum submitted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs


  The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research was set up by the Natural Environment Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council in 2000. It aims to research, assess and communicate from a multi-disciplinary perspective, the options to mitigate, and the necessities to adapt to, climate change and to integrate these into the global, national and local contexts of sustainable development.

  The Hadley Centre was set up in 1990 at the Met Office in Bracknell. Jointly funded by DEFRA and the MoD it built on climate modelling research at the Met Office. Its main aims are:

    —  to develop mathematical models of the climate system;

    —  to use these to make state-of-the-science predictions of change;

    —  to monitor climate change globally and nationally;

    —  to attribute recent change to specific causes, eg human activities.

  The Hadley Centre provides a focus for climate prediction activities in the UK and makes its predictions openly available, to the Tyndall Centre, and others, such as the UK Climate Impacts Programme (at Oxford), for the assessment of impacts and adaptation response measures. The Hadley Centre also has many links with developing countries. It supplies freely all the predictions from its climate models, and these have been used extensively to evaluate impacts. It has recently developed a regional climate model for detailed predictions of climate change over any region of the world, which was funded by DFID and DEFRA. The model has already been supplied, and training given, to the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology. Over the years the Hadley Centre has welcomed a number of visiting scientists from developing countries including China, India, and South Africa.

  The two Centres' activities thus compliment each other; Hadley Centre activities are concerned with climate science and those of the Tyndall Centre with climate impacts and responses.

  With regard to the Tyndall Centre's activities in developing countries, they are committed to working with scientists and stakeholders in all parts of the world, especially developing countries. They are currently engaged in the following projects:

(a)  Measuring a country's vulnerability to climate change: new indicators of vulnerability and adaptive capacity

  The project utilises existing databases of economic, social and institutional variables to provide a comprehensive account of sensitivity and adaptive capacity at the national level for all the countries of the world for which data are available. Indicators of vulnerability and adaptive capacity should include measures of insecurity and marginalisation, distribution of wealth and assets, geographical and environmental dimensions, demographic and health status characteristics and social capital.

(b)  How do CDM projects contribute to sustainable development: evaluating policy options for the clean development mechanism—a stakeholder multi-criteria approach

  Projects implemented as part of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol will have the dual mandate of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to sustainable development. Ambitious claims have been made about the likely benefits of CDM projects in developing countries, but these claims need to be critically assessed before investment in CDM takes place. This project will undertake a theoretical and empirical analysis of the implications of the CDM in developing countries, in particular working with local stakeholder groups in Brazil and Costa Rica.

(c)  Integrated policy making in managing climate change: linkage between climate change and trade policies

  This project focuses on a topic of increasing concern, the potential for incompatibility or conflict between the multilateral trade rules, including investment regulation, and the flexibility mechanisms adopted under the Kyoto Protocol. Supporting organisations are the British Council and Shell International and the case study is South Africa.

(d)  Adaptation to climate change in developing countries: policy responses to enhance resilience in Bangladesh

  The objectives of this project are: to examine the nature of the threat of global climate change to sustainable development and livelihoods in poor countries, using case studies in Bangladesh; to explore how lessons from coping and adaptation to environmental change in other situations (particularly drought) can be applied to understanding and identifying responses to impacts of climate change, such as flooding and cyclones in Bangladesh; to identify what measures can be taken under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to support and enhance resilience to climate change, and encourage strengthening of the relationship between sustainable development and adaptation under the Convention. Partner institution is Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies.

(e)  Linking sea level rise, coastal biodiversity and economic activity in Caribbean island states: a pilot study

  Amongst the regions that are most at risk from climate change and sea level rise are small islands states. This study will address how climate change will impact on the coastal biotas of small island states through sea level rise, coastal squeeze and extreme weather events, examining the potential impacts on the tourist and fishing industries that depend critically on biodiversity, together with the potential policy options for optimising and maintaining ecosystem services upon which the small island states depend. Partner organisation is CPACC—Caribbean Centre for Planning and Adaptation to Climate Change.

(f)  Capacity building with regard to development and use of integrated scenarios for vulnerability and adaptation studies in developing countries

  This three-year project is funded by the GEF Assessments of Impacts and Adaptation to Climate Change programme. The Tyndall Centre will work with project teams in twenty countries to provide training, advice and resources to allow them to undertake national/regional vulnerability and adaptation studies.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

February 2002

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