The Higher Ground Research Programme
The challenges of starting and building up a financing mechanism commensurate to the scale of climate change adaptation needs now and in the future are considerable. Through the Vulnerability Reduction Credit (VRC™) system, The Higher Ground Foundation is attempting to create what is in many ways a new and experimental vehicle for delivering a public good with the need to develop knowledge and practical solutions.
The public good we are creating, a means of quantifying, certifying, and valuing climate vulnerability reduction, needs to meet multiple intellectual, societal, economic and political demands upon it in order for it to be a universal currency that stimulates climate adaptation and accounting of vulnerability reduction.
Climate adaptation is in its infancy when it comes to its quantification, verification and monitoring. Applied Research and Development is therefore needed, and not just in general terms but also for any specific project type aiming to generate VRCs™. To a certain extent it will be possible to draw upon the experience and methodologies of carbon crediting systems and exchanges, as well as upon considerable expertise from current adaptation practices and experts. Higher Ground aims to create a real market to finance adaptation projects and use this market as a source of experiences for evidence-based research on the main facets of market design and execution in a scaled-up voluntary market and to promote and design an international compliance market.
Thus, we have identified a number of research areas, categorized in Framework Creation, Market Governance, and Project Development Support, for which we will need to leverage funding and to solicit academic and other third party expert advise and input over the next few years. Higher Ground is not a research organization itself but a commissioner of specific and targeted research for the benefit of anyone involved in climate adaptation and we envision creating a Higher Ground research community to deliver practical and (market) tested solutions and algorithms in climate adaptation.
1. Framework Creation
A key requirement of an integrated VRC™ market system is that demand is sufficient to create a viable and sufficient price signal to incentivize climate adaptation investments. The proposed framework for a compliance regime suggests that cumulative emissions from developed countries should be the basis for demand. For a voluntary market, while a similar approach is applicable for corporate participants, the very voluntary nature of the market suggests alternative approaches may be considered.
Some research issues needing to be addressed under the rubric of framework creation include (but are not limited to):
- Creation of demand for VRCs™ in voluntary and compliance markets;
- voluntary market
- compliance market (this would generally require a government administered mechanism similar to compliance carbon markets) and thus should be prioritized behind the voluntary market research
- review of research to date;
- possible academic paper.
- Approaches to setting global and historical impacts and costs and to quantifying benchmarks for VRC™ creation;
- How to develop fungibility with carbon markets; - issues and opportunities
- Developing methodologies for linking climate change scenarios with impacts and damage;
- Scoping paper on level of climate change scenario information available for developing countries, and ways to develop/obtain it;
- Scoping paper on methodologies to quantify economic damages, and applicability to developing countries.
- Developing methodologies for project analysis and monitoring;
- Applicability of different local scale climate change simulation models for the identification and quantification of climate adaptation needs.
- Ensuring a system that promotes sustainability and reduces vulnerabilities of the poorest in society.
2. Market Governance
It is vitally important that Higher Ground formulate and adhere to strict, coherent, and transparent procedures to evaluate and register projects, and later review, verify, and issue VRCs™ to project owners.
Applied research needs feeding into the development of governance capacity include:
- Procedure for project registration and VRC™ issuance;
- Procedure for auditing, accrediting, validating, and verifying;
- Set up of a VRC™ registry, and;
- Creation and evaluation of VRC™ standards.
3. Project Development Support
Recognizing that the first few projects will be the most challenging as the guidelines and viable approaches will be discovered, Higher Ground will offer selected projects technical assistance, in order to both assist developers in project design, baseline setting, implementation, monitoring and crediting and to learn from these experiences. This assistance will focus on the methodological and procedural issues, but may also include select technical assistance in project identification and design.
Join the Higher Ground Research Community!
Higher Ground has developed specific R&D deliverables from the above categories, including timelines and budget and is inviting reputable research and development organizations in the field of climate change to collaborate and deliver robust and practical solutions with the Higher Ground VRC™ market as the test ground.
For more information, please contact us at email@example.com