CICERO - Center for International Climate Research
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RECEIPT (REmote Climate Effects and their Impact on European sustainability, Policy and Trade)

RECEIPT (REmote Climate Effects and their Impact on European sustainability, Policy and Trade) will map potential impacts and risks of climate extremes outside Europe on European socio-economic sectors.

Think of the significant globalization of our food production system, worldwide assets and insurances from the European financial sector, the uneven distribution of climatic extremes and vulnerability with its impacts on global disaster risk reduction and development work, manufacturing chains, and the risks of Antarctic instability that will expose coastal areas worldwide to sea level rise impacts. It is this global network of mobile goods and capital, following dynamic trade relations and physical teleconnections, that may expose expected or unexpected socio-economic consequences of climatic extremes in remote areas.

This complex system of interactions is governed by an immense cascade of uncertainties and unknowns, and a formal quantification of “risk” (defined by a combination of probability and consequences of a given class of events) is hardly feasible. RECEIPT therefore approaches the topic from another direction, by developing and evaluating dedicated storylines. For a number of sectoral domains we will map current locations on the global that are particularly meaningful for that sector, either because it provides essential resources or represents an important node in a trade network. Using experience from experts in that sectoral domain we will define climate hazards that have led to significant shocks in the past, or can lead to such shocks in a foreseeable future. We will map the socio-economic consequences of these shocks, and consolidate this package of sector, geographic domains, potential shocks and its impacts as a “storyline”. Next we will imagine what climate change will do to this collection of storylines. By imposing a number of reference scenarios for a changing climate and an associated change in the socio-economic settings, we will explore how our storyline is altered when exposed to each of these scenario’s. Extreme events in remote areas may have become more extreme, or less predictable, or more coherent limiting the ability to rely on alternative supply areas. The figure shows the approach in a nutshell.

By exposing our storylines to these standardized scenarios we can make a cross-sectoral, maybe even pan-European image of the risks that Europe is facing concerning this aspect of climate change. And last but not least, we will need to document and justify our storylines carefully: we want them to be credible, science-based, reproducible, defendable. A protocol for documentation and visualization of our storylines is crucial. And equally crucial is a significant input from experienced experts in the sectoral domains. That’s why RECEIPT did not only invite climate scientists or experts on modeling socioeconomic processes, but also a number of Non-Governmental Organizations and stakeholder brokers, our so-called societal partners. They take the lead in the design and accreditation of our storylines, and will be a crucial target audience when interpreting out main findings.

Illustration of the project

The project will be running for four years. In the first year the storylines are defined, matured, tested, and captured in our model and analysis tools. Each of the subsequent years will be devoted to mapping climate extremes, future climate impacts and the overall risk image. At the end of the project we will be a small step further in our exploration of a very uncertain future, but can rely on our new storytelling skills to face the challenges that future may bring

In order to provide relevant and quantitative information on the European risks from remote global climatic features, RECEIPT will develop and implement a novel stakeholder driven storytelling concept that maps representative connections between European socio-economic activities and remote climatic hazards. Using a limited number of storylines designed for selected sectors, RECEIPT has the following key objectives and deliverables:

• Mapping of global hotspots of remote areas with climate features relevant for Europe, using state-of- the-art climate and climate-impact databases

• Science-based sectoral storylines co-developed with societal partners, describing the impacts of remote climate change on: European food security, the financial sector, international development, commodities and European coastal infrastructure

• Assessment of European socio-economic impacts along each of the selected storylines under different future climatic conditions, including high-end climate scenarios

• A robust synthesis of the storyline results into a pan-European socio-economic risk assessment focusing on the difference between high-end and moderate climate change conditions

• Innovative web-based concepts for visualizing potential impacts of remote drivers and mapping risk mitigation options.