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This Data Platform is on a Mission to Popularize "Just Adaptation"

A peek under the hood of J-ADAPT, a new toolkit backed by Oxford University and the Howden Foundation

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  • “Just Adaptation” is an approach to climate adaptation and resilience (A&R) that acknowledges the uneven distribution of climate impacts, and uneven needs and capabilities of at-risk populations

  • The University of Oxford and Howden Foundation recently teamed up to create J-ADAPT, a data and analytics platform intended to bring a “Just Adaptation” lens to infrastructure investment decision-making

  • The platform builds upon a first-of-its-kind open data tool, making climate risk information accessible to those most in need

  • Over the coming months, the team behind J-ADAPT is focused on overcoming data hurdles and piloting the toolkit with governments and civil society organizations

Climate change has global implications, and no one population or region will be spared from its transformative effects. However, the weight of climate impacts will not be borne equally across communities. We already know, for example, that the Global South is bearing the brunt of climate shocks. Moreover, it’s clear that certain areas and populations are more vulnerable to climate shocks than others. 

This has important ramifications for adaptation and resilience (A&R) finance. If climate-proofing projects are selected on the basis of “traditional” cost-benefit analyses, which don’t account for the skewed distribution of climate impacts or differences in regional vulnerability, then those most in need of A&R are in danger of being starved of capital. 

Oxford academics are on a mission to change this. Last month, the university’s Environmental Change Institute (ECI) launched J-ADAPT — a data and analytics platform that could transform how public and private investors consider A&R investments in the developing world. The name plays on the concept of “Just Adaptation”, an approach to climate-proofing that recognizes the uneven distribution of climate impacts, and uneven needs and capabilities of at-risk populations, and tries to find solutions that level the playing field.

“The idea around the J-ADAPT project is that [existing climate risk] tools have been very focused on cost-benefit analyses — but the cost-benefit analyses aren’t equitable,” says Mark Bernhofen, a research associate at Oxford working on the platform. “The value of an asset to someone on a higher income is a lot less compared to someone on a lower income.” 

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