Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    An assessment of the performance of scenarios against historical global emissions for IPCC reports
    Strandsbjerg Tristan Pedersen, Jiesper ; Duarte Santos, Filipe ; Vuuren, Detlef van; Gupta, Joyeeta ; Encarnação Coelho, Ricardo ; Aparício, Bruno A. ; Swart, Rob - \ 2021
    Global environmental change : human and policy dimensions 66 (2021). - ISSN 0959-3780
    Emission scenarios against historical trends - Emissions scenarios - Global - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - Non-OECD/OECD - Socioeconomic trends

    Long-term emissions scenarios have served as the primary basis for assessing future climate change and response strategies. Therefore, it is important to regularly reassess the relevance of emissions scenarios in light of changing global circumstances and compare them with long-term developments to determine if they are still plausible, considering the newest insights. Four scenario series, SA90, IS92, SRES, and RCP/SSP, were central in the scenario-based literature informing the five Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the sixth assessment cycle. Here we analyze the historical trends of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel combustion and industry and emissions drivers between 1960 and 2017. We then compare the emission scenario series with historical trends for the period 1990–2017/2018. The results show that historical trends are quite consistent with medium scenarios in each series. As a result, they can be regarded as valid inputs for past and future analyses of climate change and impacts. Global CO2 emissions 1960–2018 (and 1990–2018) comprised six (and three) overall subperiods of emissions growth significantly higher and lower than average. Historically, CO2 emissions (in absolute numbers and growth rate) are tightly coupled with primary energy and indirectly with GDP. Global emissions generally followed a medium-high pathway, captured by “middle-of-the-road” scenario narratives in the earlier series, and by combinations of “global-sustainability” and “middle-of-the-road” narratives in the most recent series (SRES and SSP-baselines). Historical non-OECD trends were best captured by “rapid-growth” and “regional-competition” scenarios, while OECD trends were close to regional-sustainability and global-sustainability scenarios. Areas where the emissions scenarios captured the historical trends less well, are renewable and nuclear primary energy supply. The fact that the actual historical development is consistent with rapid-growth narratives in the non-OECD regions might have important implications for future greenhouse gas emissions and associated climatic change.

    Variability in historical emissions trends suggests a need for a wide range of global scenarios and regional analyses
    Pedersen, Jiesper Strandsbjerg Tristan ; Vuuren, Detlef P. Van; Aparício, Bruno A. ; Swart, Rob ; Gupta, Joyeeta ; Santos, Filipe Duarte - \ 2020
    Communications Earth & Environment 1 (2020). - ISSN 2662-4435
    Long-term developments in carbon dioxide emissions have tracked the middle of projected emission scenario ranges over the past three decades. If this tendency continues, it seems increasingly less likely that future emissions will follow current high-emission scenarios. However, in the past, periods of slow and fast global emissions growth was observed, which have led to previous critiques of scenarios being too low or too high. In the light of such unpredictability and since scenarios are meant to explore plausible futures, we here argue that a broad range of emission scenarios continue to be considered input in scenario-based analyses of future climate change. Furthermore, we find substantial regional differences in emissions trends. Territorial emissions in OECD countries fall on the low side of emission scenario ranges, whereas non-OECD territorial emissions fell closer to the medium or high-end. Since non-OECD emissions will become increasingly important, we recommend further exploring the relationships between regional and global emissions to support scenario assumptions and climate policymaking.
    Foresight promotion report for policy & decision-makers : Work Package 4 – Institutional strengthening, Task 4.3 – Promote Foresight activities
    Leitner, M. ; Bentz, J. ; Lourenço, Tiago Capela ; Swart, R.J. ; Coninx, I. ; Allenbach, Karin ; Thibaut Rohat, Guillaume - \ 2019
    Lisbon : Placard - 57 p.
    Foresight workshop summary: The future of Europe depends on how it manages the risks of climate extremes : Foresight: December 2018 Workshop summary
    Leitner, M. ; Coninx, I. ; Swart, R.J. ; Lourenço, Tiago Capela - \ 2019
    Lisbon : Placard - 36 p.
    This report is partly based on the The future of Europe and the future of climate action: reflections and scenarios for the EU27 by Jonathan Gaventa and Manon Dufour, E3G; Martin Nesbit and Kamila Paquel, IEEP and Radostina Primova, HBS EU and mostly on the PLACARD Foresight workshop: facing the future of Europe’s climate – EU governance and climate risks at a crossroads One of the working streams of PLACARD is to promote foresight. Foresight is a method to try out a set of forward-looking approaches that help decision-makers explore and anticipate what might happen. This allows decision-makers to prepare for a range of possible futures, and influence and shape those futures.
    Assessing physical climate risks for investments: A risky promise
    Swart, Rob - \ 2019
    Climate Services 14 (2019). - ISSN 2405-8807 - p. 15 - 18.
    The world’s financial sector is making significant strides to account for both transition and physical climate risks in investments. The latter holds promise for increasing resilience. But effective frameworks for characterising physical risks for different types of investors and investments are as yet missing or often not used, and avoidance of investments in high-risk areas may counter the positive effects. This short commentary starts to characterise the promises and pitfalls of climate risk assessment in the financial sector and proposes a conceptual framework to capture the main dimensions. A stronger and collaborative role for public and private climate service providers is suggested to upgrade climate risk assessments for financial actors.
    Adaptation policy at supranational level? Evidence from the European Union
    Biesbroek, G.R. ; Swart, R.J. - \ 2019
    In: Research Handbook on Climate Change Adaptation Policy / Keskitalo, E.C.H., Preston, B.L., Edward Elgar Publishing (Social and Political Science 2019 ) - ISBN 9781786432513 - p. 194 - 211.
    The European Union (EU) is a supranational entity for which climate change adaptation has become an important policy topic. This chapter seeks to address the question of how the EU currently governs climate change adaptation. The authors show how the open method of coordination as governing logic offers the possibility for the European Commission to mainstream climate change adaptation considerations through the acquiscommunautaire. Moreover, this approach also offers the Commission the possibility to stimulate the exchange of best practices, setting up new policy, practice and knowledge networks, involving non-governmental organizations and the private sector in adaptation, and to facilitate coordination and cooperation between member states and regions. Beyond these mostly procedural policy tools, however, the EU has very limited power to force member states to start adapting. The authors reflect on what these insights from the EU mean for governing climate change adaptation at the supranational level in general.
    How could climate services support disaster risk reduction in the 21st century
    Street, R.B. ; Buontempo, C. ; Mysiak, J. ; Karali, E. ; Pulquério, M. ; Murray, V. ; Swart, R. - \ 2019
    International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 34 (2019). - ISSN 2212-4209 - p. 28 - 33.
    Climate services - DRR decision-support - Post-2015 agenda

    In January 2018, three leading European initiatives on climate services (CS) and disaster risk reduction (DRR) initiated a discussion on how the DRR community could be best served by new and emerging CS. The aim was to identify challenges and opportunities for delivery of effective operational disaster risk management and communication informed by an understanding of future climate risks. The resulting discussion engaged experts from civil protection, health, insurance, engineering and the climate service community. Discussions and subsequent reflections recognised that CS can strengthen all phases of the DRR cycle and that there are lessons to learn from experience that could enhance and demonstrate the value of CS supporting the DRR community. For this to happen, however, the supporting information should be relevant, accessible, legitimate and credible and engage both service supply and demand sides. It was also agreed that there was need for identifiable and credible champions recognised as providing leadership and focal points for the development, delivery and evaluation of CS supporting DRR. This paper summarises the identified key challenges (e.g. disconnection between CS and DRR; accessibility of relevant and quality-controlled information; understanding of information needs; and understanding the role of CS and its link to the DRR planning cycle). It also suggests taking advantage of the unique opportunities as a result of the increased coherence and mutual reinforcement across the post-2015 international agendas and the increasing recognition that links between public health and DRR can provide impetus and a focus for developing CS that support DRR.

    PLACARD translated materials – first set : Work Package 3 – knowledge brokerage, Deliverable 3.3
    Coninx, I. ; Swart, R.J. ; Schwarze, Reimund ; Michalek, Gabriela - \ 2018
    Placard - 9 p.
    Brief communication: Strengthening coherence between climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction
    Mysiak, J. ; Castellari, Sergio ; Kurnik, Blaz ; Swart, R.J. ; Pringle, Patrick ; Schwarzenbach, R. ; Wolters, H. ; Jeuken, A. ; Linden, Paul van der - \ 2018
    Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences 18 (2018)11. - ISSN 1561-8633 - p. 3137 - 3143.
    Reducing disaster risks and adapting to climate change are ever more important policy goals in Europe and worldwide. The commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and complementary multilateral frameworks, including the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, has galvanised pursuits for policy coherence. The report »Climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in Europe: enhancing coherence of the knowledge base, policies and practices« of the European Environment Agency identified several ways how coherence and resilience can be built through knowledge sharing, collaboration and investments.
    Identification of relevant international networks, programmes and institutions for JPI Climate research : Work Package 3 - Deliverable 3.1
    Aalbers, C.B.E.M. ; Coninx, I. ; Swart, R.J. - \ 2018
    Wageningen : SINCERE - 60 p.
    Identification of relevant international networks, programmes and institutions for JPI Climate research
    Aalbers, C.B.E.M. ; Coninx, I. ; Swart, R.J. - \ 2018
    SINCERE project, strategic document, non-public H2020-SC5-2016-2017/H2020-SC5-2017-OneStageB, Deliverable 3.1, European Commission
    Social vulnerability to climate change in European cities – state of play in policy and Practice
    Breil, M. ; Downing, C. ; Kazmierczak, A. ; Mäkinen, K. ; Romanovska, L. ; Terämä, E. ; Swart, R.J. - \ 2018
    Copenhagen : EEA - European Environment Agency (ETC/CCA Technical Paper 2018/1) - 85 p.
    Climate change impacts do not affect all citizens in the same way. They often cause worse impacts on certain vulnerable groups within cities. The aim of this technical paper is to provide the state-of-play in policy and practice for addressing social vulnerability to climate change in urban areas.
    Adaptation to climate change at local level in Europe: An overview
    Aguiar, F.C. ; Bentz, J. ; Silva, J.M.N. ; Fonseca, A.L. ; Swart, R.J. ; Santos, F.D. ; Penha-Lopes, Gil - \ 2018
    Environmental Science & Policy 86 (2018). - ISSN 1462-9011 - p. 38 - 63.
    Europe’s climate change vulnerability pushes for initiatives such as the European Adaptation Strategy and the associated Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. What are the triggers and barriers, for which sectors and for which risks and how is adaptation funded? This paper examines 147 Local Adaptation Strategies in Europe. Key triggers were incentives via research projects, implementation of EU policies and the increasing frequency of extreme climate events. Insufficient resources, capacity, political commitment and uncertainty were the main barriers. Prioritized sectors reflected the main local vulnerabilities - flood protection and water management, built environment and urban planning. Differing patterns of adaptation planning and adaptive capacity were identified among different regions in Europe. Large municipalities generally fund adaptation locally, whereas international and national funding appears to be more important for adaptation in less urban or densely populated territories. The database of LAS described in the present study can be expanded and used to increase the understanding of and promotion of local adaptation action in Europe and beyond.
    Strategic narratives to induce preparedness and prevention in cities : New governance tool for public action
    Coninx, I. ; Michalek, Gabriela ; Bentz, J. ; Swart, R.J. ; Schwarze, Reimund - \ 2017
    Weather- and climate-related natural hazards in Europe
    Kurnik, Blaz ; Linden, P. van der; Mysiak, J. ; Swart, R.J. ; Füssel, H.M. ; Christiansen, Trine ; Cavicchia, Leone ; Gualdi, S. ; Mercogliano, Paola ; Rianna, Guido ; Kramer, K. ; Michetti, Melania ; Salis, Michele ; Schelhaas, M. ; Leitner, M. ; Vanneuville, W. ; Macadam, Ian - \ 2017
    In: Climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in Europe / Castellari, Sergio, Kurnik, Blaz, EEA - European Environment Agency (EEA Report 15/2017) - ISBN 9789292138936 - p. 46 - 91.
    Since 2003, Europe has experienced several extreme summer heat waves. Such heat waves are projected to occur as often as every 2 years in the second half of the 21st century, under a high emissions scenario (RCP8.5). The impacts will be
    particularly strong in southern Europe.
    Heavy precipitation events have increased in northern and north-eastern Europe since the 1960s, whereas different indices show diverging trends for south-western and southern Europe. Heavy precipitation events are projected to
    become more frequent in most parts of Europe.
    The number of very severe flood events in Europe has varied since 1980, but the economic losses have increased. It isnot currently possible to quantify the contribution due to increased heavy precipitation in parts of Europe compared with better reporting and land use changes.
    Observations of windstorm location, frequency and intensity have showed considerable variability across Europe during the 20th century. Models project an eastward extension of the North Atlantic storm track towards central Europe, with an increase in the number of cyclones in central Europe and a decreased number in the Norwegian and Mediterranean Seas.
    For medicanes (also termed Mediterranean Sea hurricanes), a decreased frequency but increased intensity of medicanes is projected in the Mediterranean area.
    Landslides are a natural hazard that cause fatalities and significant economic losses in various parts of Europe. Projected increases in temperature and changes in precipitation patterns will affect rock slope stability conditions and favour increases in the frequency of shallow landslides, especially in European mountains.
    The severity and frequency of droughts appear to have increased in parts of Europe, in particular in southern and south-eastern Europe. Droughts are projected to increase in frequency, duration, and severity in most of Europe, with the strongest increase projected for southern Europe.
    Forest fire risk depends on many factors, including climatic conditions, vegetation, forest management practices and other socio-economic factors. The burnt area in the Mediterranean region increased from 1980 to 2000; it has decreased thereafter. Projected increases in heat waves together with an expansion of the fire-prone area will increase the duration of fire seasons across Europe, in particular in southern Europe.
    Observational data between 1970 and 2015 show that alpine avalanches cause on average 100 fatalities every winter in the Alps. Increased temperatures are expected to lead to decreases in alpine snow cover and duration, and in turn
    to decreased avalanche activity below about 1 500-2 000 m elevation in spring, but increased avalanche activity above 2 000 m elevation, especially in winter.
    Hail is responsible for significant damage to crops, vehicles, buildings and other infrastructure. Despite improvements in data availability, trends and projections of hail events are still subject to large uncertainties owing to a lack of direct
    observation and inadequate microphysical schemes in numerical weather prediction and climate models.
    Extreme high coastal water levels have increased at most locations along the European coastline. This increase appears to be predominantly due to increases in mean local sea level rather than to changes in storm activity. Projected changes in the frequency and intensity of storm surges are expected to cause significant ecological damage, economic loss and other societal problems along low-lying coastal areas in northern and western Europe, unless additional adaptation measures are implemented.
    Impacts of natural hazards in Europe
    Groeve, Tom De; Kurnik, Blaz ; Mysiak, J. ; Swart, R.J. ; Semenza, Jan C. ; Kendrovski, Vladimir ; Kramer, K. ; Ivits, Eva ; Vanneuville, W. ; Carrera, Lorenzo ; Blauhut, V. ; Erhard, M. ; Christiansen, Trine - \ 2017
    In: Climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in Europe / Castellari, Sergio, Kurnik, Blaz, EEA - European Environment Agency (EEA Report 15/2017) - ISBN 9789292138936 - p. 92 - 115.
    Climate change has caused noticeable effects on human health in Europe, mainly as a result of extreme events, an increase in climate-sensitive diseases, and a deterioration in environmental and social conditions. Heat waves were the
    deadliest extreme weather event in the period 1991–2015 in Europe.
    Increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather- and climate-related events may lead to more disastrous impacts on ecosystems and their services. Management of ecosystems can help to avoid or significantly reduce these impacts.
    The total reported economic losses caused by extreme weather- and climate-related events in the EEA member countries over the period 1980-2015 amount to around EUR 433 billion (in 2015 values). A large share of the total losses (70 %) has been caused by a small number of events (3 %).
    Transformative urban adaptation to climate change
    Kazmierczak, A. ; Breil, A.M. ; Dworak, T. ; Swart, R.J. ; Mäkinen, K. - \ 2017
    EEA - European Environment Agency
    Developing climate information portals with users : Promises and pitfalls
    Swart, R.J. ; Bruin, K. de; Dhenain, S. ; Dubois, G. ; Groot, Annemarie ; Forst, E. von der - \ 2017
    Climate Services 6 (2017). - ISSN 2405-8807 - p. 12 - 22.
    The priority of climate change on political and research agendas fluctuates but got a recent boost after the 2015 UNFCCC Paris Agreement. The amount of climate data is surging and so is the number of climate information portals.

    Portal developers usually aim at serving ‘‘users” and therefore consult them. But how useful are the resulting portals really? And for whom? How effective was the involvement of users in developing the portal?

    This paper aims to provide some answers to these questions.

    Reflections which have been carried out in this paper are based on the situation in Europe, building on experience in a number of European projects, in particular the CLIPC project (Climate Information Portal for Copernicus), a ‘‘pre-operational” research project for Copernicus.
    Financing urban adaptation tot climate change
    Swart, R.J. ; Georgi, B. ; Romanovska, L. ; Dworak, T. ; Berglund, M. ; Gossum, H. van; Water, Sandra van de; Bosch, P. ; Rovers, V. ; Eichler, L. - \ 2017
    EEA - European Environment Agency (EEA Report 2) - ISBN 9789292138455 - 36
    Despite the global signals, and European and national
    efforts to unlock climate finance, meeting the costs
    of adaptation measures for climate change is a
    major challenge for relevant authorities and private
    stakeholders. However, municipalities across Europe
    — cities, towns and smaller districts — have found
    various innovative ways to overcome the challenge of
    financing their adaptation measures. The 11 city case
    studies presented in this publication, and the lessons
    they provide, can inspire other cities and smaller
    municipalities to reproduce these measures.
    Klaar voor klimaatverandering : Opmaak van een risico- en kwetsbaarheidsanalyse in functie van klimaatadaptatie en uitwerken van adaptatiebeleid op maat van en voor de provincie Antwerpen
    Coninx, Ingrid ; Willems, Patrick ; Goosen, Hasse ; Rooij, Bertram De; Swart, Rob ; Boone, Pieter ; Uytven, Els Van; Tabari, Hossein ; Koekoek, Arjen ; Bijsterveldt, Menno Van - \ 2016
    Wageningen : Alterra Wageningen UR (Alterra-rapport 2741) - 104
    Deze studie vat de bestaande kennis over klimaatverandering, die relevant is voor de provincieAntwerpen samen. De voornaamste effecten die te verwachten zijn, zijn inzichtelijk gemaakt.Vervolgens is er een opsomming gemaakt van beleidsacties die de provincie Antwerpen kan nemenOm de effecten te matigen of zelfs te voorkomen. Deze acties zijn gericht op: -Analyse en het verwerven van meer en betere inzichten, - Integreren van klimaatdata in de huidige beleidsinstrumenten, wat vaak wordt aangeduid met‘mainstreamen van beleid’, - Realiseren van een aantal adaptatiemaatregelen, - Betrekken en activeren van andere mensen om acties te ondernemen voor elk van de acties is aangegeven op welke termijn ze genomen zouden kunnen worden. Bij veelvan deze acties wordt de korte termijn aangegeven. Dat heeft twee redenen. Ten eerste, omdat deeffecten nu al plaatsvinden. Ten tweede omdat hoe sneller men klaar is voor klimaatverandering, hoebeter men het hoofd leert bieden aan deze effecten. Vele van deze acties zijn gericht op maatregelendie ook andere maatschappelijke doelen dienen. Het zijn zogenaamde ‘no-regret’ maatregelen diemeerdere voordelen opleveren. Het kan daarom geen kwaad om zo spoedig mogelijk aan de gang tegaan met deze acties.Tot slot nog de boodschap: klimaatadaptatie gaat niet louter om het aanpakken van eenbeleidsprobleem door één specifieke beleidsdienst. Klimaatadaptatie is een integraal beleidsproces.Het kan een manier zijn om een regio te ontwikkelen, sterk te maken en om nieuwe levensstijlenmogelijk te maken. Het kan ook een manier zijn om de samenleving te versterken en het gebiedleefbaar te houden, zodat elke bevolkingsgroep zich thuis voelt. Klimaatadaptatie doet men samen, endaarom zal de provincie Antwerpen in navolging van deze eerste verkenning met andere mensen devolgende stappen zetten om de provincie klaar te maken voor klimaatverandering.
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