ICSM CHC White Paper II: Impacts, vulnerability, and understanding risks of climate change for culture and heritage: Contribution of Impacts Group II to the International Co-Sponsored Meeting on Culture, Heritage and Climate Change

Simpson, Nicholas P., Orr, Scott Allan, Sabour, Salma, Clarke, Joanne, Ishizawa, Maya, Feener, R. Michael, Ballard, Christopher, Mascarenhas, Poonam Verma, Pinho, Patricia, Bosson, Jean-Baptiste, Morrison, Tiffany and Zvobogo, Luckson (2022) ICSM CHC White Paper II: Impacts, vulnerability, and understanding risks of climate change for culture and heritage: Contribution of Impacts Group II to the International Co-Sponsored Meeting on Culture, Heritage and Climate Change. Discussion Paper. ICOMOS & ISCM CHC, Charenton-le-Pont, France & Paris, France, 109p. ISBN 978-2-918086-72-7. [Book]

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Abstract (in English)

[Executive summary] Climate change poses an existential threat to multiple dimensions of culture and heritage. Human induced climate change is already producing weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe (IPCC, 2021). Climate hazards have become more severe as global warming has increased (IPCC, 2021). Observed changes to the climate system include widespread and rapid impacts on the atmosphere, oceans, cryosphere and biosphere, increases in the frequency and intensity of heat extremes, marine heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and intense tropical cyclones, as well as reductions in Arctic sea ice, snow cover, glaciers, and permafrost (IPCC, 2021). There has not yet been a systematic assessment of the impacts of these climate hazards on heritage. Every region of the world is projected to increasingly experience concurrent and multiple changes as a result of global warming (IPCC, 2021), with the potential for accumulative impacts on heritage. For example, hundreds of thousands of significant archaeological, cultural, and natural heritage sites along the coasts of every continent are threatened by sea level rise, and many will be lost or damaged (Reimann et al., 2018; Vousdoukas et al., 2022). Further, low-likelihood but high-consequence outcomes, such as ice sheet collapse, abrupt ocean circulation changes, some compound extreme events (e.g., extreme heat which follows a cyclone), can also pose a risk to heritage. These major events may produce substantially larger impacts than those currently within IPCC assessments, and are now within the very likely range of future warming (IPCC, 2021). White Paper 2 covers five main themes of research, policy, and practice including review of: a) coverage of heritage in recent reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); b) risk terminologies in heritage, developed by UNESCO, ICOMOS, IUCN, ICOM, ICCROM and other culture and heritage-related organisations, and IPCC use for potential cross-walk between the two fields; c) types and severity of impacts, vulnerability, and risks; d) the geographic distribution of impacts, vulnerability and understanding risks; e) existing tools for identification, monitoring, and comparison of the impacts, vulnerability, and understanding risks to heritage from climate change (see Section 2). Across these themes, special attention is given to losses and damages from climate change, gaps in knowledge and knowledge production, and the cross-cutting themes of governance and capacity to learn from the past are made where relevant to impacts, vulnerability and understanding risks. The scope of this white paper is extensive due to the diversity and quantity of heritage types and climate change impacts. Culture and heritage encompass natural and cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, including the creative economy and its cultural industries. Tangible heritage can be immovable and movable; immovable cultural heritage includes archaeological sites, historical buildings and structures, monuments, and landscapes (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO, 1972), whereas museum collections and archives represent movable tangible heritage. Intangible cultural heritage includes practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, and skills inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants (UNESCO, 2003). Natural heritage encompasses geological features, ecosystems and biodiversity (UNESCO, 1972), which support social-ecological systems. Many of these dimensions of culture and heritage are physically exposed and vulnerable to climate hazards and potentially affected by direct and indirect impacts from climate change. This white paper therefore focuses on the impacts, vulnerability, and risks to heritage from climate change and reviews our current knowledge as a primer for the International Co-Sponsored Meeting on Culture, Heritage, and Climate Change (ICSM CHC) held in December 2021. In doing so it contributes to scoping the potential key focus areas of research for the 7th Assessment Round of the IPCC (2022 onwards) and the coming decades. Reflecting on the findings from sections 4-9, this research presents seven broad challenges for further climate change /heritage discussion: 1. How to systematically identify the range of impacts of climate change on heritage commensurate with the diversity, quantity, and severity of those impacts; 2. How to integrate all determinants of climate change risk in assessment of impacts on heritage; 3. What is the essential climate change risk terminology needed for alignment of research and practice? 4. How can large-scale assessments better evaluate the impacts of climate change on heritage, and what risks those impacts pose? 5. What are the essential roles and responsibilities of stakeholders necessary to assess climate change impacts, including those of Loss and Damage from climate change? 6. What are the essential modalities and methods necessary to assess climate change impacts on, and risks to heritage? 7. What can be learnt from the past to inform climate adaptation? This white paper aims to align with and complement White Paper 1: ‘Knowledge Systems’ and White Paper 3: ‘Heritage Solutions.’ It therefore does not concentrate on adaptation or solutions as these are addressed in White Paper 3. Although special attention is given to impacts, vulnerability, and understanding risks for Indigenous communities and their respective knowledge systems, deeper scoping and richer discussion of these can be found in White Paper 1.

Item Type: Book (Discussion Paper)
Simpson, Nicholas P.
Orr, Scott Allan
Sabour, Salma
Clarke, Joanne
Ishizawa, Maya
Feener, R. Michael
Ballard, Christopher
Mascarenhas, Poonam Verma
Pinho, Patricia
Bosson, Jean-Baptiste
Morrison, Tiffany
Zvobogo, Luckson
Corporate Authors: International Co-Sponsored Meeting on Culture, Heritage and Climate Change (ICSM CHC); ICOMOS
Languages: English
Keywords: international cooperation; climate change; heritage conservation; risk assessment; vulnerability; cultural heritage; natural heritage; systematic review
Subjects: G.DETERIORATION > 03. Climate change
G.DETERIORATION > 05. Prevention of deterioration
National Committee: ICOMOS International
Number of Pages: 109
ISBN: 978-2-918086-72-7
Depositing User: ICOMOS DocCentre
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2022 14:02
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2022 14:06
URI: https://openarchive.icomos.org/id/eprint/2718

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