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Landslide Prevention - Flood Prevention - Agricultural Climate Adaption
Higher Ground works with project proponents to establish approaches assessing climate vulnerability, and climate vulnerability reduction, in order to award vulnerability reduction credits (VRCs™.)
This is not an academic exercise, as the objective is to demonstrate how adaptation projects quantifiably reduce vulnerabilities, and to create a public good in the form of VRCs™ in order to finance real, additional climate vulnerability reduction projects.
The basic steps include:
Assessing baseline vulnerability (hazard probability and exposure)
Understanding how baseline vulnerability shifts with climate changes
Evaluating potential interventions to reduce vulnerability
Submitting a project design document for independent validation
Upon project implementation, then project owners must:
Monitor and independently verify project performance against the baseline
The Higher Ground then will award VRCs™ according to the level of vulnerability reduction demonstrated.
The process demands a considerable amount of rigorous analysis and planning in order for projects to earn VRCs™. This ensures that the projects directly and measurably reduce climate change vulnerabilities. Because credits are only awarded after a period of proven vulnerability reduction, there is a direct incentive for project sustainability.
Landslides pose severe risks to infrastructure and to people who live, travel, or work near vulnerable sites. Often socially and economically marginal communities settle in hilly areas prone to landslides, and in mountainous regions, road and communications links critical for the economy are vulnerable, especially during and immediately after the rainy season - often also the growing and harvest seasons.
Landslides have many causes, but changes in precipitation owing to climate change may increase landslide hazards. There are a variety of engineering and land use interventions and practices that offer to reduce these hazards.
Landslide prevention measures could be supported by VRCs™. Project developers would survey and analyze landslide risk, and consider what communities and assets were exposed to these risks. If precipitation patterns increase the risk, these may be integrated into a future vulnerability baseline. The reduced hazard associated with projects to prevent landslides, such as improved road and building construction and project siting, planting vegetation, and improving drainage can then be the basis for generating VRCs™.
A number of recent floods that have displaced millions, with devastating impacts on human health, food security, and infrastructure, have a demonstrable linkage to climate changes. Projects to reduce flood hazard, including engineering, land use, and disaster management interventions, can be attractive generators of VRCs™, and the revenue stream from VRCs™ in turn can back project finance.
Based on understanding baseline flood hazard and anticipated future changes in precipitation and other climate factors causing flooding, projects can then be developed to protect assets and communities. After implementation, if the project’s monitoring reports demonstrate that it is maintained according to Higher Ground registered project design, VRCs™ may be issued.
Farming and grazing is how billions in the developing world sustain themselves and their families. In subsistence agriculture, climate factors: temperature and precipitation, among others, lead to good harvests or poor harvests. A poor harvest often throws a whole region into poverty.
Higher Ground VRCs™ can stimulate planning and project finance to climate-proof crop production. To win VRCs™, current agricultural practices and their vulnerability to climate need to be understood and assessments of how future climates will impact production, on a business-as-usual basis, give a vulnerability baseline. This assessment will then inform what alternative practices - changes in crops and varieties, irrigation, pest management, among others - offer to cost-effectively reduce vulnerability. As with other measures, effective maintenance of the project is required for VRC™ issuance.