On October 28, 2020 the Strategic Partnerships for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (SPIPA) held an Expert Dialogue on “Climate Scenarios and Extreme Events” in Beijing. This Expert Dialogue was the first in a series of workshops along the themes of “Climate Risks, Impacts and Adaptation” taking place until the first quarter of next year. The workshop was held as a hybrid event with the participation of JRC experts from Europe and Chinese experts from Tsinghua University and other think tanks. The workshop focused on two dimensions, on climate change induced risks and impacts as well as adaptation policies.
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In their opening remarks the speakers, Mr. Sébastien Paquot, Head of Section and Counsellor for Climate Action and Environment of the EU Delegation to China and Mr. Zhang Xiliang, Director of the Institute of Energy, Environment and Economy of Tsinghua University emphasized on the complexity of climate risks, impacts and adaptation.
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In the first session on Climate Change Scenarios, Mr. Alessandro Dosio from the Joint Research Center of the European Commission (JRC) introduced the “JRC PESETA IV Climate Scenarios”, a modeling study which seeks to better understand the implications of climate change for the EU. Looking at a range of impact categories PESETA IV communicates what sectors and regions of the EU could be most affected and how mitigation and adaptation options can avoid the adverse effects of climate change. His presentation focused on robust climate change projections over Europe under different global warming levels. Mrs. Chao Qingchen, Deputy Director General, National Climate Center, China Meteorological Administration (CMA), talked about extreme events and climate risks in China. She pointed out that economically developed areas in eastern China are particularly affected by climate change.
The second session focused on “Sea Level Rise and Impacts on Coastal Areas”. Mr. Michael Vousdouka, JRC highlighted that coastal risk is becoming one of the most threatening natural hazards. Mr. Cai Rongshuo, Professor, Third Institute of Oceanography, Ministry of Natural Resources of China, informed the audience about sea level rise impacts on the coastal China areas. He pointed out, that the rising sea level has brought about intensified cyclone, coastal erosion and coastal submerge, as well as coastal flooding, and the additive impacts of those climate change induced multiple factors will intensify the disasters.
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In the last session the focus was brought onto extreme events in particular heatwaves and droughts. Mr. Juan-Carlos Ciscar, JRC, introduced “Heatwaves and effects on human mortality in Europe”, while Mr. Luo Yong, Professor, Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, offered insights about “Extreme Climate Event Scenarios and their Risks to China’s Economy and Human Health”. He stressed the impacts of climate change and extreme events on China have appeared in many sectors and regions. According to Mr. Luo if effective adaptation and mitigation measures are not taken, the adverse effects and possible losses will further increase and threaten the sustainable development of economy and society. Lastly, Mr. Carmelo Cammalleri presented “Modelling droughts and their consequences in Europe”. He discussed the streamflow of drought modelling and projections, as well as the changes in drought traits.
In the conclusion session, Prof. Zhang Xiliang highlighted the importance for Chinese think tanks to exert more research efforts on adaptation as well as to strengthen the research on how to quantify economic impacts of climate risks.
All participants agreed that further cooperation between China and the EU was important and necessary to build common knowledge as well as raising awareness regarding the risks, impacts and adaptation challenges surrounding climate change. The China-EU opinions’ exchange is important to understand that both sides follow the same objectives and goals, thus facilitating the learning in the future.