The Climate Services Partnership and
Global Framework for Climate Services
Andrew E. Harding, 2014
Contemporary Climate
Mitigation to Mitigation & Adaptation
Most climate advisory to date has been focused on mitigation.
It’s now clear that mitigation alone will not be sufficient
Some adaptation will be necessary but it is not a single institution problem.
Or a national problem, or a county problem.
Adaptation is a pervasive need, from few to many end-users,
stakeholders, and clients.
• Most, if not all of these needs are individual.
• “What does this mean to me?”
Science for Adaptation
• With adaptation comes a need for greater granularity of climate information,
• both spatially and temporally.
• Also an assessment of climate variability and extreme conditions over average changes.
• Seasonal and Decadal changes, 10-40 years ahead, more than just end of century.
• Many of these changes are likely to be highly regional, and pressing
Science for Adaptation
This moves the terms of engagement from:
• very large, singular IPCC style organisations
• with a science-to-stakeholder delivery chain
• multiple operational bodies with a recursive co-production process.
This combination of needs and climate pressures
makes the required science highly specified.
It also requires:
• increased research investment in modeling,
• in order to yield more skillful climate prediction,
• which will hopefully facilitate better adaptation decisions.
Science for Adaptation
• The aim is that, eventually, seasonal weather forecasting and long-term
climate projections will merge, giving rise to decadal climate predictions
that have both skill and reliability.
• Unfortunately,
• predictive skill is currently unknown for climate at the decadal timescale.
• Decision-makers lack experience in using climate predictions.
• Caution is warranted when promising users a clarified view of the future.
Guaranteeing precision and accuracy over and above what science can credibly deliver
risks contributing to flawed decisions, and undermining trust.
Communicating uncertainties appropriately requires skill, and delivering results
may require avoiding models altogether for a variety of reasons.
So where are climate services coming from at present?
Climate Services
National weather services are a natural provider of new services to pre-existing partners,
• The UKMO’s Climate Services division has been operational since 2012.
• Ditto government funded bodies like the ClimateXchange.
• At home, initiatives like the UK CCRA and UKCIP have helped feed into the
development of climate services by focusing down onto at risk sectors.
• Abroad, The UK has been helping other countries set up equivalents to these bodies
with long term partnerships in both Singapore (through the UKMO) and
South Africa (with the BRC)
• Meanwhile both Germany and the US have developed their own Climate Services
centres, although with different scope/aims.
Climate Services
These agencies work:
• in concert with core science development
• as a delivery and refinement mechanism, rather than replacing anything,
• and are fundamentally aware of the strengths and limitations of predictive science.
But they are not the only groups offering Climate Services.
Local regulation, such as:
• the Carbon Reduction Commitment and
• Energy Savings Opportunity schemes in the UK,
• Cap and Trade in California,
• and coal-fired power plant phasing out in Ontario,
Are already creating profitable opportunities for consultancies.
Climate Services
This is sometimes referred to as Climate Capitalism,
estimated to be worth £2billion a year to the UK economy.
Strategic Management firms are starting to offer their own climate services. Including:
• AT Kearney, McKinsey & Company, PwC and Deloitte,
All major firms invested in “low carbon solutions”, adaptation needs,
and responding to climate driven legislation. They provide services such as:
- Energy and carbon management and regulation
- Renewable energy deployment
- Carbon capture and storage
- Environmental economics
- Combined heat and power technology deployment
- Adaptation and mitigation capacity building
- Green house gas inventories and projections
- Carbon Reduction Commitment energy efficiency scheme advisory
- Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme advisory
Climate Services
“- Strategic consulting on corporate positioning and action in the
climate arena
- Analysis on major international climate change and sustainable
development policy
- In-country work with national governments, companies and
local communities on climate finance initiatives and
- Engaging the development community on the potential use of
carbon finance”
Climate Trustworthiness
We would hope that our national, academic, and governmental bodies are
But the proliferation of public and corporate agencies can make it difficult to
identify reputable, robust, services, particularly given the uncertain nature of
regional climate variability.
When competitive advantage is a factor, it can be difficult to validate the methods
by which these consultancies derive their climate information
Climate Trustworthiness
To compound this problem, as end-users and, increasingly, customers, make
up more and more of the public sphere, our ability to offer robust services and
even affect large scale change in response to climate change is compromised if
these bodies are not trustworthy.
Corporate entities who use the science irresponsibly are capable of
undermining the provenance of academic or governmental bodies, by
undermining acceptance of the science itself.
Climate Trustworthiness
To compound this problem, as end-users and, increasingly, customers, make
up more and more of the public sphere, our ability to offer robust services and
even affect large scale change in response to climate change is compromised if
these bodies are not trustworthy.
Corporate entities who use the science irresponsibly are capable of
undermining the provenance of academic or governmental bodies, by
undermining acceptance of the science itself.
Climate Services
There have been two major responses to this problem, and the fact that in order to
deliver good services and build trust, Climate Services providers must hit the ground
running, and make as few mistakes as possible.
1. The Global Framework for Climate Services
2. The Climate Services Partnership
Which seek to define what climate services are, and should be, and to develop a
community committed to best, ethical, practice.
Global Climate Services Framework
A WMO administered framework, which defines the service component of climate
services as:
“appropriate engagement, an effective access mechanism and responsiveness to
user-needs” and aims for “Effective climate services [that] will facilitate climatesmart decisions that reduce the impact of climate-related disasters, improve food
security and health outcomes, and enhance water resource management”.
Their main activities are to help establish, and then co-ordinate, national level climate
services. By nationally 1. Assessing the baseline
2. An initial national consultation workshop
(controversially forbidding power point)
3. Development of an implementation plan
Global Climate Services Framework
The five overarching goals of the GFCS are:
Reducing the vulnerability of society to climate-related hazards through better
provision of climate information;
Advancing the key global development goals through better provision of climate
Mainstreaming the use of climate information in decision- making;
Strengthening the engagement of providers and users of climate services;
Maximising the utility of existing climate service infrastructure.
UN-led, an involvement with the Millenium Development Goals is a major component
of the GFCS, An unwritten sixth goal is to bring climate services to those who are most
vulnerable to climate change, and a seventh is to maximise data exchange and thus
minimise duplication.
Global Climate Services Framework
The five functional components of the GFCS are then:
• Front-end:
User Interface Platform — provide ways for climate service users and providers to interact and
improve the effectiveness of the Framework and its climate services
Climate Services Information System — produce and distribute climate data and information
according to the needs of users and to agreed standards
Observations and Monitoring – develop agreements and standards for generating necessary climate
data. (through the WCDMP)
Research, Modeling and Prediction — harness science capabilities and results to meet the needs of
climate services (through the CLIPS project)
Capacity Building — support the systematic development of the institutions, infrastructure and
human resources needed for effective climate services (through the ETR office)
Global Climate Services Framework
GFCS will participate in at least US$ 150 million of climate-related development
projects by end of 2017, US$ 250 million by end of 2021.
The GFCS will make climate services relevant to many people currently working
within the provision of climate information.
Particularly where they work on the framework’s first four priority areasagriculture and food security, disaster risk reduction, health, and water.
At the very least, their efforts on data rehabilitation, rescue, and storage should
benefit a large part of the climatological community.
This initiative also allows for a sense of provenance to be embed in GFCS
empowered agencies that comes from a global organisation.
Climate Services Partnership
1. The CSP will encourage and sustain connection between climate information
providers, users, donors, and researchers by continuing the ICCS process
2. The CSP will promote gathering, synthesizing and dissemination of current
knowledge on climate services by way of anonline knowledge capture platform.
3. The CSP will facilitate the generation of new knowledge on critical topics in
climate service development and provision, through the creation of focused mediumterm working groups.
Climate Services Partnership
• the CSP is about the people who deliver climate services. Many of
the implementation needs for climate services are highly specified,
but the human capacity needs are broadly similar.
• These are some of the needs that the CSP aims to tackle, along with
scalability and best practice. It is bottom up, not top down. The
main three working groups are:
– Evaluation
• information about the quality and relative value of climate services
– Valuation
• economic analysis of weather, climate, and hydrological (WCH) services
– Ethics
• standards for climate information products delivered in the name of climate
• guidelines for the conduct of climate services: equity, accessibility,
transparency, and accountability.
Sources of Funding and project partners
• Horizon 2020
• SC5-1 and SC5-2-2014/2015: Climate Services for Europe and globally
• SC5-2-2015: European Research Area for Climate Services
• ECLISE - demonstrate local climate services to support adaptation policies and
conceptualise a European climate service
• CLIM-RUN – climate information in the Mediterranean region responding to user
• NACLIM – improve our understanding of the predictability of the climate in the N.
Atlantic/European sector
• SPECS - climate prediction systems for seasonal-to-decadal time scales, to provide
actionable climate information.
• EUPORIAS - maximise the usefulness of seasonal-to-decadal climate information
through close collaboration with end users
• ECOMS - coordinate across European projects and a ‘think tank’ on future research
• FCFA - joint DFID/NERC programme for sub-Saharan climate variability and
provision of information to decision makers
• JCWRP - Aligning NERC and Met Office research activities

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