🎺♩ ♪ Landscape as Self-Organization ♫ ♬ 🎷 (so jazzy)

Nam, Willow & Jessica.

We will be taking a look at landscape through the lens of self-organization. More specifically, during our travel in Nepal, we will be looking for the physical evidence of self-organizing processes and human collaborations, with the aim of assessing the social capital within the community, as this is a key factor in building community resilience. Assuming that government support is limited in these villages and people rely mostly on themselves for their livelihoods, we expect that there will be various types of collaborations between farmers, business owners, and other groups to increase the social services within the community.

The collaboration between partners can be present both physically and socially. The physical aspects can be found by looking at which existing structures have been established and managed by the common people. This could be community forest area, informal irrigation networks or specific communal farming practices. The social aspects can be examined by noticing self-organization processes through the interactions, information sharing, and network creations of individuals and communities.  We anticipate these social aspects will be manifested in the informal gathering of community groups to share information, informal markets, as well as informal livelihood supports structures.

 

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Research Team Lens- Landscape as Culture

The Oxford Dictionary defines culture as “the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.” Comparing and contrasting trends in American culture with Nepali ideas, customs, and social behaviors will help us map the community landscape and identify challenges to community resilience. This view of landscape may provide evidence of Nepal’s low contribution to global GHG emissions relative to the U.S. and help us identify culturally compatible strategies for building resilience to weather and climate change related events and disasters. Our experience as members of Dickinson’s culture and American culture in general are the baseline for our analysis. The baseline culture is largely defined by overconsumption, convenience, and a large number of options when faced with a decision. During our trip, we may pay particular attention to infrastructure, human values, religion, and tradition to interpret culture.

As travelers in a new country, we are likely to use this lens by default. We take many aspects of our own culture for granted because we are used to it, and it is the standard by which we judge everything else. Simple aspects of daily life, such as food and transportation, will stand out much more to us in Nepal because they are different from our own. By consciously viewing landscape as culture, we can harness our already increased awareness of the culture around us. We can also account for our own biases, keeping in mind that our own culture may influence our perceptions of what resilience is and how well these communities stack up. We can challenge ourselves to take Nepali ways at face value, and to understand resilience in a way that is relevant to the people we are working with.

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Evaluating Climate Models

While we cannot be certain what will happen in the future, we have already begun to see changes in climate pattern. These changes will force the world to look at how we build infrastructure as well as community resilience to these issues. Uncertainty will play an important role in how decisions around these issues are made. It will cause people who are forming these decisions to be more creative as well as adaptive to many of these issues. It can be argued that adaptation and forming adaptive practices needs to be a part of these developmental plans. [1] Creating adaptive communities can help explain that while we may not know what is happening, community resilience is strong and therefor able to react.

In some capacities climate models can be helpful, in others they are extremely complicated and they cannot give a clear answer as to which direction a climate is going in. Climate models are able to give us understanding of large scale issues on a smaller geographic scale, yet with that some aspects and specifics of climate models will be lost. Climate models have uncertainties because they provide people with what the current climate is and with predictions for what the future climate could be. These complex models combine aspects of atmosphere, the water cycle, terrestrial processes and more in order to recreate the climate of a given area. Because all of these things can change, predictions can be complicated and varying.

Climate models can be used to help inform the decision making process around how to adapt to climate changes. They demonstrate that because of varying human factors, the climate will change in the future in given areas. They demonstrate that while we may not know what will exactly happen the changes of something happening are very significant.

Some models that were created in the past 50 years have been correct. An example of this is that these previous models showed that there will be melting in the arctic region and that is what we currently have going on.

The limitations to using a climate model lies in its uncertainties. The limitation is that it is not able to give us direct answers to questions. If we adapt because we think there is a high chance that there will be increased precipitation but then it turns out that that region will actually witness a drought, it could cause complications. There are also limitations to how much they can tell us. While climate models can be extremely complicated it is not possible for them to factor every aspect of a geographical region. Although there are limitations, climate models are some of the best resources that we have available to us. There is not time to wait for these predictions to be true or not the most success we can have is creating communities that are able to adapt and be resilient to these changes.

 

 

 

Additional Sources

Randall, D.A., R.A. Wood, S. Bony, R. Colman, T. Fichefet, J. Fyfe, V. Kattsov, A. Pitman, J. Shukla, J. Srinivasan, R.J. Stouffer, A. Sumi and K.E. Taylor, 2007: Climate Models and Their Evaluation. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M.Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

IPCC, 2007: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M.Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

RUBENSTEIN, Madeline. “A Beginner’s Guide to Climate Models.” State of the Planet A Beginners Guide to Climate Models Comments, Columbia University, blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2010/08/26/a-beginners-guide-to-climate-models/.

Beck, Coby. “‘Climate Models Are Unproven’–Actually, GCM’s Have Many Confirmed Successes under Their Belts.” Grist, 19 Jan. 2012, grist.org/article/climate-models-are-unproven/.

[1] Zambrano-Barragán, Carolina. Decision Making and Climate Change Uncertainty: Setting the Foundations for Informed and Consistent Strategic Decisions. World Resource Report, www.bing.com/cr?IG=B1C8B497E0D14226B5FAA5FA48279D95&CID=14D38B730749667922158070064F675F&rd=1&h=e69WBbeY4hZic2z_pYdFWhcUj-jANOHsVxkrbcVWOiE&v=1&r=https%3a%2f%2fwww.wri.org%2four-work%2fproject%2fworld-resources-report%2fdecision-making-and-climate-change-uncertainty-setting&p=DevEx,5063.1.

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Timeline

Timeline explanation: I choose a mix of political events as well as extreme weather events trying to demonstrate that there is a link between policy and climate change. Although there is no direct proof that these events were caused by climate change, it is known that climate change will make these events much more severe.  I have these to connect Nepal and the world.

1970- First Earth Day, People become more aware of the earth and what surrounds us. Ideas of pollution and conservation are now more widespread.

February 16, 2005- Kyoto goes into effect. Many major countries except for the United States sign this. 84 Countries signed this at the time

April 25, 2015- Gorka Earth Quake. 7.8 magnitude earth quake hits Nepal.

April 22, 2016- Paris Climate Agreement. 195 Countries all sign in pursuit of not allowing a global temperature increase of 2 degrees.

January 20, 2017- Donald Trump Inaugurated. This political change causes the United States to pull out of the Paris Agreement. This could have direct effects on issues of climate change, as the US is no longer holding themselves accountable to not exceed the 2-degree threshold.

Late August 2017-  Extreme Monsoon and Flooding kills 1,000 in Southeast Asia. This impacts 41 Million people living there. This is not as highly televised as other events happening in the United States. This causes many landslides as well. The areas that flooded were in the poorest region of Nepal. As a highly agrarian community this caused many problems due to many farms flooding.

April 25, 2015- Gorkha Earthquake hits Nepal and is extremely destructive. It destroyed many villages and land that the villages owned. Following the earthquake Nepal headed into a monsoon season which came with extreme flooding and landslides. Some of the flooding can be linked to melting glaciers in Nepal’s high mountains due to climate change. This all began to effect the livelihood of the people living in Nepal. As many as 9,000 people were killed because of this earthquake. The people of Nepal, particularly the poor, are extremely dependent on natural resources. This earthquake, though it is not a direct effect of climate change, triggered many other effects that are related to climate change. The extreme flooding and monsoon season caused additional damage.

Relating this back to class, this is an example of why community resilience is necessary.  It demonstrates how Nepal was able to come back from a catastrophic event such as this. While not everything has been repaired, daily life returned to Nepal and a focus on forming a new government was developed. Nepal also asked different countries for aid as well as the United Nations who developed the “Nepal Earthquake 2015 Flash Appeal” fund. This earthquake stresses the importance of developing communities that are prepared when these events happen. As more events like these begin to happen due to climate change, developing countries are more vulnerable to destruction than anyone else. More frequent occurrences of extreme weather caused by climate change will make development more difficult. This also places stress on the countries who have induced more climate change.  This earthquake is an example of how different systems such as the economics, health systems and social effects all interact with one another and how in a short time they can all be changed within a community.  This earthquake stresses the importance of having strong systems in place within a community.

Citations:

 

Rafferty, John P. “Nepal earthquake of 2015.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 24 Apr. 2017, www.britannica.com/topic/Nepal-earthquake-of-2015. Accessed 11 Sept. 2017.

Gettleman, Jeffrey. “More Than 1,000 Died in South Asia Floods This Summer.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 29 Aug. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/08/29/world/asia/floods-south-asia-india-bangladesh-nepal-houston.html?mcubz=1. Accessed 11 Sept. 2017.

 

“Monsoons.” Nepal Earthquake Case Studies, Dartmouth College, http://sites.dartmouth.edu/NepalQuake-CaseStudies/monsoons/. Accessed 10 Sept. 2017.

 

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and Jan Golinski. Timeline – UNFCCC — 20 Years of Effort and Achievement, 19 Mar. 2014, unfccc.int/timeline/. Accessed 11 Sept. 2017.

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Timeline

18th Century- Industrial Revolution of the Western World

December 11, 1997- Kyoto Protocol

              – UNFCCC founded

2006- China overtakes USA as world’s largest carbon emitter

April 25, 2015- Earthquake in Nepal 7.8

May 12, 2015- Aftershock 7.3

April 22, 2016- Paris Agreement

 

When constructing this timeline I found the question of what events to focus on to be an interesting one.  While Nepal’s internal history is certainly important there is also a larger worldwide context.  Nepal is a tiny country and it could be argued that much of what occurs internally is driven by external factors.  In the 18th Century the Industrial Revolution of the Western World occurred.  The revolution started in England and then later spread to the United States towards the end of the 18th Century.  When one considers which countries essentially are “to blame” for anthropogenic climate change the answer is clear, the Western World is to blame, specifically the United States.  However the impacts of climate change are most strongly felt in places like Nepal, places that had nothing to do with these emissions.  From this many questions emerge concerning who is responsible for “fixing” climatic issues.  Throughout the course of the Mosaic we have already run into this issue.  What should Nepal’s role be in finding solutions to climatic challenges?  What would be the impacts of Nepal industrializing like the United States did? What role can technology transfer play in the sustainable development of Nepal?  The United States was the world’s largest emitter for over a century, only recently surpassed by China.  How can we ask a small nation like Nepal, a LDC, to take steps to mitigate climate change while they work to develop?  When one compounds the history of Nepal with this information the questions become more difficult to answer.  Nepal was historically under the control of the East India Company.  If resources were taken out of Nepal to be consumed by the West the questions become more and more tangled.  I believe in the importance of history and I believe history should inform how the international community addresses climate change.   I believe that we should not ridicule Nepal for taking actions that harm the environment such as deforestation while in the United States we have already destroyed our forests.  It is up to the United States and the Western World to play a larger role in the international community and to contribute the majority resources to find solutions to climate change.

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Disaster Risk Reduction in Nepal: Monsoon Variability

Nepal, with its fragile geology and steep topography, is the 20th most disaster-prone country in the world (Dangal 2). With the additional impact of changing climate, this area, that highly prone to disasters, is greatly impacted. Because of climate change, one of the impacts has been an increase in monsoon variability. There has been an “increased frequency of extreme weather events such as landslides, floods and droughts resulting to the loss of human lives as well as social and economic costs” according to Nepal’s Nationally Determined Contribution(NDC) (Nationally Determined Contribution 1). These water-induced disasters, like stated by the NDC, have pose as great risks to multiple aspects of human security.

Monsoon variability has created risks that affect the economic growth, land, and livelihood. Even though water induced disasters are the most predicable events, “they are causing greater human suffering every year” (Dangal 1).

(This table from the Disaster Risk Reduction in Nepal: Achievements, Challenges and Ways Forward. Water related disaster like landslides, floods and heavy rainfall account for a large portion of the damages and losses.)

For agricultural communities, the instability makes farming even more challenging. The productivity of land is at risk with the heighten potential for crop failure. The economic livelihoods of the people who depend on agriculture will be impacted. This accounts for about 33.1% of Nepal’s GDP and is the main source of food, income and employment for 65.7% of the population as stated by the Ministry of Agricultural Development of Nepal (Karki 4). The majority of the population depends on agricultural in some way, so when thinking about who is at risk, ultimately everyone is impacted by the effects of monsoon variability. This climate change impact means that both people who supply food and demand food are impacted. The markets cannot be stable if the supply of food is volatile. Food is a mutually shared resource, and we are a part of the interconnected system. However, this being said some people and places experience more risk than others. For example, those who live in low lying regionals are at greater risk of experiencing flash floods than those who live in the mountains. Also, more vulnerable populations in society like Dhalits who come from a lower-class background may be more severely impacted. In the case of the Koshi Tappu wetland, poor farmers were not given the benefits of infrastructure from the dam, or the benefits of the resources. They are at greater risk than other members of the community.

In the 2011 Climate Change Policy, some changes to capabilities and resources are outlined. The policy that relates to water induced disasters include “formulating and implementing design standards for climate resilient construction of bridges, dams, river flood control and other infrastructure” (Ministry of Home Affairs 7). By focusing on improving our capabilities we can in turn improve the resources which are the assets we have such as bridges and dams. Another resource for climate adaptation and responding to risks is utilizing national and international financial resources. Making the Climate Change Fund, for example, more accessible for climate change-related programs would improve the ability to adapt and the resilience of communities (7). Other policy change that have been made are establishing species that can tolerate drought and flood conditions. This adaptation decreases the risk of crop failure. This approach to developing climate resilient infrastructure is also of importance in Nepal, so the Climate Change Policy has prohibited “development of human settlement in climate vulnerable areas” (9). In conclusion, though monsoon variability has cause an increase in risk there are climate change policies in place to adapt and mitigate disasters.

Photo: summer 2017 flood in Nepal

Works Cited

“Climate Change Policy, 2011.” PDF file, 17 Jan. 2011.

Dangal, Rameshwor. “Country Profile: Nepal.” Disaster Risk Management: Policies and Practices in Nepal, PDF ed.

Karki, Yogendra Kumar. “Nepal Porfolio Performance Review.” PDF file, 11 Sept. 2015.

Ministry of Home Affairs. “Disaster Risk Reduction in Nepal: Achievements, Challenges and Ways Forward.” PDF file, Nov. 2016.

Ministry of Population and Environment. “Nationally Determined Contribution.” PDF file, Oct. 2016.

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Agricultural Infrastructure Adaptation Through Irrigation

Emma Brown, Sarah House, Nam Nguyen

Sector: Agriculture and Rural Development

Adaptation Type: This low regret program addresses current water access issues, while also preparing for potential future challenges and building capacity in this area.

Executive Summary:  The Irrigation and Water Resource Management Project aims to more effectively and efficiently utilize and manage water in order to increase quality of life in Nepal, which is heavily dependent on agriculture. In four components, the World Bank and  aims to combine improvements to infrastructure with policy reform and education of best management practices to achieve better outcomes in water use and agricultural outputs. While the timeline has doubled from its initial goal of five years, the program has seen great success in increased crop yield for farmers which has led to higher incomes and better quality of life. Additionally, increased water access as a result of this project will allow rural communities to adapt to climate changes in the future.

Actors: The main actors in this program are the World Bank, the Government of Nepal, and the Nepali Department of Irrigation, who designed and run the projects. Also involved are the Department of Agriculture and the Water Users Associations.

Stakeholders: The various stakeholders include the World Bank, the Government of Nepal, the Department of Irrigation, Water Users Associations, farmers, and rural communities. As financiers of the project, the World Bank, the government, and the WUA have a monetary stake in the success of the project. The farmers and rural communities involved in the project are invested as the direct beneficiaries of its success.

Project Details:
Agriculture is a major component of Nepal’s economy, as it contributes to 38% of the country’s GDP (World Bank). However, farmers do not have access to adequate irrigation systems and still depend largely on monsoon rains. According to the World Bank, less than one-fifth of total cultivated land in Nepal receives year-round irrigation. Addressing this problem, The Irrigation and Water Resource Management Project (IWRMP), funded by the World Bank, aims to fund infrastructural development and improve the governing institutions relating to agriculture and irrigation. The project originally started in 2008 and was proposed to end in 2014, but due delays in implementation and additional resources needs, the deadline was extended 2018. The project is divided into four main components:
(A)  Irrigation infrastructure development and improvement
(B)  Irrigation management transfer reforms
(C)  Institutional and policy support and
(D)  Integrated crop and water management program (ICWMP)
Enhancing irrigation systems is one of the most effective ways to improve rural livelihoods and enhance climate resilience, especially for the case of Nepal. Cultivated lands will have increased water access, which will enable farmers to enhance their food production. A more productive agricultural system will increase demand for employment. As a result, income for the rural poor will rise. Additionally, as climate change will alter the Indian monsoon, rainfall patterns will become more unpredictable. Farmers will need irrigation systems to ensure a reliable water supply and diversion system.
To ensure that the project is achieving its goals, indicators to measure the progress will include (1) increase in agricultural productivity and cropping intensity; (2) satisfaction from water-user groups; (3) the creation of water user associations and management policies; (4) increase in irrigated areas.

Component A: Irrigation Infrastructure Development and Improvement
This component aims to increase irrigation services from existing systems and develop new systems in three Western Regions, the Mountains, Hills and the Terai. In total, the project plans to improve irrigation water delivery to about 29,000 ha, support groundwater irrigation in 20,500 ha. Specific implementations plans will involve: (1) Improving existing small and medium surface irrigation systems in the proposed project areas; (2) Develop and improve ground water irrigation in the Terai; (3) Support on-demand local irrigation and water supply infrastructures; (4) Investments in non-conventional irrigation technologies, such as drip/sprinkler irrigation, rain-water harvest tanks and treadle pumps. Additionally, the project aims to ensure that all groups will benefit equitably from the project. Disadvantaged groups, such as the landless and dalits, will benefit from special income generating programs and focused investment on non-conventional irrigation technologies.

Component B: Irrigation Management Transfer Reforms
This component aims to reform the current operation and management of irrigation schemes in Nepal by establishing and strengthening Water User’s Associations (WUAs). The WUA will consolidate the governance, management and maintenance of 11 sub-systems of existing five Agency-managed Irrigation systems, including the Koshi West Gravity Scheme, Narayani Irrigation System, Mahakali Irrigation System, Kankai Irrigation System, and Sunsari Morang Irrigation System. These five systems currently covers an area of about 72,500 ha. The establishment of WUA will be complicated as it requires multiple steps to consolidate control of the five systems. These will include: (1) improving the management schemes of the systems to be transferred; (2) conducting field-trainings for WUAs from regional to local levels to increase efficiency; (3) working with the Department of Irrigation to share responsibilities with WUAs; (4) improving the Department of Irrigation’s ability to efficiently invest in the rehabilitation and arrangements of irrigation systems.

Component C: Institutional and Policy Support for Better Water Management
This component aims to build-up relevant institutions through multi-tiered interventions to provide more effective water-management and irrigation-related services. At the national level: (1) A monitoring committee and information center will be established within the Water and Energy Commission to oversee, collect and disseminate data related to water management (2) Policies and regulations related to water management will be amended (3) A system of assessing water availability and allocation to support the operation of water allocation for irrigation systems during periods of drought or floods will be established (4) a platform of communication among different stakeholders, such as civil societies, governments and the media will be created to initiate cooperation of transboundary management of water and energy. In selected river basins, studies will be conducted and legal and technical instruments will be established to address water issues for future hydropower developments and their impact on irrigations. At the level of regional irrigation systems, a census of water users will be conducted and specific regulations to ensure equitable access to water resources will be established.

Component D: Integrated Crop and Water Management
This component aims to incorporate the irrigation infrastructure plans mentioned in Component A and B with downstream agricultural activities to ensure that farmers benefit from the development. The Department of Irrigation (DOI) and WUA will cooperate to (1) promote water-use and management practices (2) introduce agronomic practices to farmers; (3) support agricultural production activities throughout the supply, storage, handling and marketing process.

Resources Needed
The Government of Nepal values this project at US $65 million. The World Bank identified the best source of funding to be a specific investment loan, a type of loan intended to support the development of infrastructure (World Bank Debt Servicing Handbook 9), along with an International Development Association grant. These were viable options because the intended use of funding was clearly laid out and could be completed within five years , although the project timeline has now been extended to ten years. The World Bank granted USD $50 million, the Government of Nepal contributed $10 million, and the WUAs collectively contributed another $5 million. However, the Government of Nepal needs additional funding to complete the River Basin Management Plan, a significant part of the project, whose completion the World Bank will not be involved in.
The Government of Nepal applied to the World Bank for funds for most of the construction projects through National Competitive Bidding. Applying through this pathway (as opposed to International Competitive Bidding) exempted it from competition with other nations. The Nepali government also had to delegate small construction tasks to WUAs, which would require “specialized equipment for MIS, office equipment, vehicles” and other items. Independent parties were also needed to perform research, create a database to track Nepal’s water resources, and provide training (“Project Appraisal” 18). This information and training was needed to help fill in gaps for project teams and government officials previously unfamiliar with the project and associated policies (“Project Appraisal” 19).

Assessment
To promote climate change adaptation, this project should improve the livelihoods of farmers who use these services and their ability to withstand future challenges. The World Bank sets three main criteria to measure the success of the program: service delivery performance, the amount of water collected and the effectiveness of its use, and increases in yield and diversity which bring in greater income for farmers. (“Project Information Document”). Improvements in all of these criteria can help those with access to irrigation to manage current environmental challenges. Better irrigation services provide greater control over how much water crops receive when natural rain is inadequate. Farmers can then grow crops more effectively and make greater profits, and in turn have more economic resources , which boosts their capacity to cope with other challenges.
The project has made progress in all three of the World Bank’s criteria. More than half of the planned irrigation improvements have been completed, and the others are underway. Several training programs have helped farmers to learn new farming practices, which will help them to use the improved irrigation to their greatest advantage. Crop yields have also been successful: The World Bank reports that “The yield of rice, wheat, maize and potato have increased in a range of 39 to 92 percent over the baseline with corresponding increase in cropping intensity from 180 to 242 percent” (“Implementation Status” 2). In the World Bank’s terms, the project made considerable advancement. However, progress has been slower than planned: the deadline has now been extended from 2013 to 2015 (“Implentation  Status” 1). Technical and financial shortages have also held back progress on the River Basin Management Plan, which the Government of Nepal will have to complete on its own after the project deadline (“Implementation Status” 2).
The project’s effectiveness also depends on who benefits and for how long. It should benefit those most vulnerable to climate change risks and therefore most in need of adaptation.The inclusion of a “vulnerable group development strategy” ensures that marginalized populations are involved in decision-making processes and enjoy the benefits of the program. Support is also provided to encourage women’s participation in WUAs (“Appraisal” 20). These measures help to ensure that traditionally disadvantaged groups have a voice in the project, and have the opportunity to meet their needs for adaptation. In order to effectively promote adaptation, the project must enable people to meet both current and future environmental challenges. This project is a low regret option because it meets this goal, addressing current needs without creating new environmental problems. Environmental disturbances from construction are expected to be minimal, and actions to mitigate any damage are also built into the plan. The plan also takes future resource use into account. It includes an evaluation of which structural improvements could improve efficiency. An investigation of future prospects for exploiting groundwater will also promote sustainable use of that resource. This increased efficiency should improve farmers’ ability to grow crops when weather patterns they traditionally depend on are disrupted. Overall, the project has been successful in improving the irrigation system in Nepal, effectively increasing farmer’s livelihoods.

Information Sources:

Guidelines: Procurement Under IBRD Loans and IDA Credits. The World Bank, May 2004, http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTPROCUREMENT/Resources/Procurement-Guidelines-November-2003.pdf. Accessed 3 October 2017.

“Implementation Status and Results Report.” The World Bank, 1 Aug. 2017,
http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/274841504214379427/pdf/Disclosable-Version-of-the-ISR-Implementation-Status-and-Results-Report-ISR-NP-Irrigation-Water-Resources-Management-Project-P099296-Sequence-No.pdf. Accessed 3 October, 2017.

“Integrated water resources management in Nepal: key stakeholders’ perceptions and lessons learned.” Taylor and Francis Online, ” http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07900627.2015.1020999. Accessed 3 October, 2017.

“Nepal: Irrigation and Water Resource Management.” The World Bank, 11 Apr. 2014, http://www.worldbank.org/en/results/2014/04/11/nepal-irrigation-and-water-resource-management. Accessed 2 October, 2017.

“NP Irrigation and Water Resources Management Project.” The World Bank, http://projects.worldbank.org/P099296/irrigation-water-resources-management-project?lang=en. Accessed 1 October, 2017.

“Project Appraisal Document.” The World Bank, 1 Aug. 2017, http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/500641468323052350/pdf/41409optmzd0NP.pdf. Accessed 2 October, 2017.

““Project Information Document (PID): Concept Stage.” The World Bank, 26 Sept. 2007, http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/263431468123880942/pdf/Project0Inform1cument1Concept0Stage.pdf. Accessed 3 October 2017.

“Welcome to Irrigation Water Resource Management Project.” Department of Irrigation, http://doi.gov.np/iwrmp/index.php/1-welcome-to-irrigation. Accessed 3 October, 2017.

World Bank Debt Servicing Handbook. The World Bank, June 2009, http://siteresources.worldbank.org/PROJECTS/Resources/40940-1250176637898/Engl.pdf. Accessed 4 October 2017.

 

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The Institute for Energy Research: To Believe or Not to Believe?

In my time researching for the essay on evaluating the credibility of President Donald Trump’s statements as he announced the country’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords, I came across an article from the Institute for Energy Research (IER) on the topic of carbon dioxide emission reductions. After briefly skimming the article I had already noted several instances of bias, and so I began to look into what IER publishes.

The Institute for Energy Research is a nonprofit public policy think tank based in Washington, DC. Most of their publications focus on government regulation of the energy industry. None of those attributes send up a red flag on their credibility, but taking a closer look at the organization’s donors does. I often spend a couple minutes researching an organization or author of assigned readings, and one of the biggest indictors of bias is affiliation with other particularly biased groups. I ask myself what the motivation of the author and these groups is in publishing an article or report. Upon examining IER, I discovered that they regularly receive donations from the United States multinational oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil, the largest US trade association for the oil and natural gas industry the American Petroleum Institute, and the largest private-sector coal company in the world, Peabody Energy. It is not in the interest of these businesses to fund research that would endanger their profits, and I therefore question the credibility of scientific reports from IER. If they wanted to continue receiving funding, it makes sense that they would publish material supporting energy industry rhetoric.

Another indication of potential untrustworthiness of a source is the language used in the writing itself. I noticed that in the article detailing the United States’ decrease in carbon dioxide emission rates, the language used was far from neutral. Words with strong positive or negative connotations related to politicians or policies along a clearly partisan line. Facts should not be manipulated to fit along political divides. In a perfect world, policy would be implemented that correlates with what facts are communicating is happening in reality. The IER website seems to have nothing beneficial to say about renewable energy sources such as wind or solar. The organization does its best to make its reports sound academic and factual. However, a big indicator that they are not as credible as they would prefer to be is that these studies are not peer-reviewed. Examining the literature on topics such as climate change actually illustrates a widespread disagreement with IER’s stance.

The IER website devotes an entire topic page covering climate change and stating that reducing carbon emissions or transitioning away from fossil fuels is not the right answer. Whether or not these views are true, I would be skeptical of considering these articles credible sources. The motivation behind these publications is to defend energy companies, discredit the majority of climate scientists, and create confusion in the public on environmental issues.

Works Cited

The Institute for Energy Research.” IER, instituteforenergyresearch.org

“U.S. Outshines Other Countries in CO2 Emissions Reductions.” IER, 6 May 2016, instituteforenergyresearch.org/analysis/u-s-outshines-countries-carbon-dioxide-emissions-reductions

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Is the IDS-Nepal Report Credible?

In a time of constant doubt about the truth, it is ever important to have credibility in sources, when reading or writing about a relevant topic.  I believe that the three criteria needed for a source to be credible is reliable sources of information such as governmental offices as well as powerful nongovernmental organizations. A credible source also needs to have been peer reviewed by experts in the field before being published. This paper examines different factors that make the Economic Impact Assessment of Climate Change in Key Sectors in Nepal Technical Report a credible source.  These strengths in credibility can be seen in the combination of governmental groups and private organizations that worked on producing this piece, the amount of people who peer reviewed this source, and finally through the language used as it admits its own short comings.

One of the main strengths of this paper informative report is the amount of high diversity of organizations that were involved throughout the process.  These organizations include different sectors of the Nepali Government lead by the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Environment.  Other members represented the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Agricultural Development.  A few other governmental groups, the National Planning Commission and the Department of Water Induced Disaster Prevention, were also involved with this report.  The fact that so many of these groups were involved with the creation of this report is a wonderful indication towards its credibility.  When addressing the impacts that climate change is and will have on an area it is necessary to use an interdisciplinary approach as the issues being faced do not cover simply one field of study.

Another strength of this report is found in the nongovernmental organizations that also helped to produce this report.  These groups include the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), the Global Climate Adaptation Partnership (GCAP), Integrated Development Society Nepal (IDS-N), and Practical Action Consulting (PAC).  This combination of groups, like the diversity of governmental groups, shows the thoroughness and thought that went into the creation of this report.  It is important to have the presence of both governmental and nongovernmental groups throughout a strong research based report and this paper clearly had that.  This project was requested by the government but carried out by the NGO’s.

Before being published this paper was peer reviewed by many people in CDKN.  This peer review process is an important step to take before publishing because experts can catch any mistakes or misrepresented information.  Peer reviewing with experts is also useful because it is a way to make sure that the information being represented in clear for the reader to understand.

The IDS Nepal report is a trustworthy source in the field of climate change.

 

IDS-Nepal, PAC and GCAP (2014). Economic Impact Assessment of Climate Change In Key Sectors in Nzepal. IDS-Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal.

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Understanding Climate Models

Climate models help show different scenarios as to what could happen.  For example, some models run their simulations as if there will be no attempts to mitigate climate change, while others show what would happen if the greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions stayed constant to their current level.  This variance in scenarios is importance because it takes in to account one the of the largest reasons that future climate is so uncertain.  The amount ghg emissions directly impacts the temperature of the Earth.  By running scenarios with different amounts of ghg emissions climate models show a wide range of outcomes that could be the future of Earth’s climate.

As seen in the climate model below, each situation provides a range of the different outcomes from each scenario as well as a median line.  These ranges show outcomes from every climate scenario ran, which is helpful because it can inform decision makers of what they can expect for future climates relative to mitigation efforts.

Mean Temp Anomaly

Climate models can also represent the importance of acting against ghg emissions as shown in the four degrees Celsius gap from the median of scenario A2 to the median of B1.  The increase of global temperatures has extremely negative global connotations so the fact that climate models can show how much change mitigation can make is inspiring.

Regional climate models are another tool for local and national governments when making decisions regarding climate of the future.  These localized maps show expected changes in small given areas, such as states and counties.  When deciding on ways to approach future climate this information is helpful as it provides a region specific picture of what is likely to occur in a given area.

One limitation for using climate models can be seen particularly in precipitation models.  These models provide a range of likely outcomes of future climate, yet nothing shown is definitive.  The inconsistency is results from these scenarios is highlighted in precipitation models.  For example, in Nepal the climate models predict “changes between -30% and +100% in the annual rainfall” (p. 57).  The change in -30% and 100% precipitation would have vastly different impacts of on life, agriculture, flooding, droughts, in Nepal so, it would be hard for decision makers to use that information to create effective policy.  However, the models did show that an increase in the amount of rain days with 10 mm or more.

It can also be hard to make decisions using climate models on temperature.  While the information provided in climate models show a clear trend in the likelihood of an increase in global temperatures, the exact amount of an increase is very hard to pin down.

Bibliography:

IDS-Nepal, PAC and GCAP (2014). Economic Impact Assessment of Climate Change In Key Sectors in Nepal. IDS-Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal.

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