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Climate-proofing energy systems

This report explains why a metric for the vulnerability and resilience of energy systems is needed and proposes a methodology. Current energy policies in industrialised countries are driven predominantly by the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, measures under the Kyoto Protocol to mitigate the climatic impacts of energy production have failed to take into account the full impact of increased climatic variability: e.g., flooding, seasonal droughts, storm surges, landslides, extreme winds, freezing conditions, heat waves. Adaptation efforts are therefore urgently needed—not only in geographically-vulnerable countries such as Bangladesh, Central Africa or Tuvalu—but everywhere, as climate change is a global phenomenon. Compared to mitigation—where a common metric in terms of “tons of CO2 equivalent reduced” has traditionally been used—identification of adaptation measures is still in its infancy. There are as yet no commonly accepted parameters and indicators to compare adaptation needs and the effectiveness of adaptation measures.

Given the importance of energy in any economy and in any development efforts, it is vital that vulnerabilities within the energy sector itself be reduced substantially. Proposed adaptation measures must also support ecodevelopment goals if these and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are to be reached. Thus, parameters and indicators (a metric) for energy systems need to be developed and tested to assess whether proposed measures are appropriate.

This report, from HELIO International, summarises anticipated climate-induced impacts on key energy systems and outlines possible adaptation measures. Observations and analyses from studies of ten Sub-Saharan countries currently applying the developed metric are presented. The report concludes with a series of recommendations to help reinforce the resilience of energy systems.

View the report here: Climate-proofing energy systems.