Working with Nature and Climate Change

Another of PIANC’s strategic objectives for the future is concerned with climate change mitigation and adaptation.  More information on PIANC’s climate change activities can be found by clicking here.

Working with Nature has a potentially important role as a tool in helping to facilitate effective climate change adaptation through natural resilience.  Adopting the approach indicated in the steps shown above should both:

Help to ensure understanding of the implications of changes in temperature, precipitation, sea level, etc. for the natural environment. 

Allow the user to ‘climate proof’ future navigation infrastructure.

‘Doing things in a different order’ as suggested by Working with Nature therefore provides an ideal opportunity to build climate change projections into the project planning and design - identifying opportunities to reduce the vulnerability of natural ecosystems and improve their resilience at the same time as realising navigation infrastructure objectives. 

Climate change adaptation solutions can be achieved by incorporating the considerations.

Establish project need and objectives

Include an objective to ‘climate proof’ the development’ (i.e. to reduce vulnerability, and to increase resilience to the effects of climate change).

Understand the environment

Understand and incorporate relevant climate change projections – both how climate change will be manifested in terms of changes in high or low flow, water temperature increases, etc. and – importantly – how ecosystems are likely to respond.  The latter understanding should include both adverse and beneficial impacts of climate change on the natural environment.

Make meaningful use of stakeholder engagement; identify win-win options

Consider what is needed to adapt to climate change both from a technical specification and from a nature perspective, for example, seeking to protect vulnerable habitats or to deliver positive ecosystem outcomes.  

Prepare project proposals/design to benefit navigation and nature

Design a project which helps to improve the resilience and/or reduce the vulnerability of both navigation and nature.