POWER BLACKOUTS IN SOUTH AMERICA
POTENTIAL ADAPTATION MEASURES
From previous work, we learned that face-to-face meetings with our clients are crucial to be able to understand their needs. Also, the communication to the clients has to be in their mother tongue. We found that the limitations of the provided information have to be communicated very carefully. For example, provided climate impact indicators are valid for a certain scale and do not include all relevant processes. If the client is interested in a different scale, other factors (such as for example receding glaciers and lakes) need to be considered as well. On the scientific side, we have found that global climate models generally perform poorly in the Andes, and this has to be addressed in the communication to the clients. Predictor variables for the statistical downscaling need to be selected very carefully. And last, our clients clearly wish to receive all information in a coherent way, for example all information has to be regridded to a common grid.
Importance and relevance of adaptation
Previous extreme events such as the drought of 2015/2016, clearly show that the area is vulnerable to changes in the climate. Also, available climate projection show substantial changes in relevant water-related variables such as precipitation and evapotranspiration. Millions of people will be affected by such projected climate changes. Therefore, it is important to raise awareness for the issue of climate change and set up an adaptation plan. A climate service such as the one provided in this study helps to achieve both goals. For example climate services for the energy sector offer the possibility to show the expected impacts of climate change and the associated costs of not taking any action to sponsors, donors, tax payers, governments and international communities. For all stakeholders of the energy sector, this opens the opportunity to demonstrate how they can optimally adapt and what this adaption is offering to the society as a whole.
Pros and cons or cost-benefit analysis of climate adaptation
Climate services offer information which could help to save money in adapting optimally to climate variation and climate change. An example of a cost-benefit study has been done considering the Brasilian energy sector, that estimates the loss of firm electric energy to about 30% for 2035 for Brazil when no adaptation measures are implemented. Interestingly enough, the total energy production is only slightly affected, but the reliable provision of electric energy is dramatically decreasing. To balance this decrease, a one-off cost for the implementation of adaptation measures of about 30 bio USD and a yearly cost of about 4 bio USD are reported. The corresponding benefits are not mentioned in numbers, but it is estimated that the benefits are much higher than the mentioned costs, because firm energy is extremely important for the economy and the social welfare of the country. Although the numbers above are given for Brazil, the study method could also be used in other countries throughout the area.
It is recommended that the results of this study are incorporated in the national adaptation plans (NAP) of all countries of the Andes. In this context, but also in the frame of Private-Public-Partnerships (PPP), this will incentivize the implementation of adaptation actions, as the construction of new reservoirs or the expansion of renewable energy.
Results of this C3S Global Service contract may also build a basis for a fair energy and water management for all stakeholders as well as for its nexus with sectors such as agronomy, mining, industry and tourism. It is expected that this study will also open new ways to enable climate-resilient development and reduce vulnerability of all stakeholders involved in energy and water related topics.
In this respect, these results can also build a valuable source of information for decisions of bodies financing climate adaptation, as the Global Environment Facility, the Adaptation Fund or the Green Climate Fund.