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20 Aug 2021  | HUC SUMMER SCHOOL

From global to local: Bringing meaning to climate change through storylines

published date
20 August 2021
Himalayan University Consortium




About the lecture

As part of his lecture series during the HUC Summer School – Bringing meaning to statistical practice in climate science using R, Professor Ted Shepherd FRS, will be speaking on climate change in local and global contexts, and discussing ways to bring meaning to climate change at the local scale in the form of “storylines”.

From Ted Shepherd –

Climate change is a global phenomenon, driven by global forces. Yet for each of us, climate change manifests itself at a local scale, and is shaped by the particular and contingent nature of our local environment, including its human-managed aspects. As one proceeds from the global to the local scale, the physical principles that are so powerful for providing a scientific explanation of climate change at the global scale lose much of their explanatory power. The Indian scholar Sheila Jasanoff has argued that the process of abstraction in climate science “detaches knowledge from meaning”. The Indian writer Amitav Ghosh suggests that in order to represent the “uncanny” nature of climate change, we need to tell stories, which are a traditional form of meaning-making in particular and contingent situations. In this lecture I will describe some ways of bringing meaning to climate change at the local scale in the form of “storylines”.

Attendance is limited and by invitation only. If you are interested in attending, please register here.

About the speaker

Theodore Shepherd FRS
Grantham Professor of Climate Science, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, UK

Theodore (Ted) Shepherd is a climate scientist who specializes in large-scale atmospheric dynamics, including atmospheric circulation regimes. In recent years, his interest has focused on how to characterize the uncertainty in this aspect of climate change, including extreme events, which led to the development of the ‘storyline’ approaches. Shepherd is engaged in inter-disciplinary collaborations and the challenge of bringing meaning to climate information. He also co-leads World Climate Research Programme’s new Lighthouse Activity ‘My Climate Risk’, in which HUC is a collaborating partner.

My Climate Risk

My Climate Risk is an activity that develops and mainstreams a ‘bottom-up’ approach to regional climate risk, starting from the decision context and enables relevant climate information to be brought into that context. The term ‘risk’ here refers to the combination of hazard, vulnerability and exposure that is particular to a given regional context. By developing a new framework for assessing and explaining regional climate risk using all the available sources of climate information, the activity aims to make climate information meaningful at the local scale. While the application of the framework will be specific and tailored to local concerns, it will also be generic, flexible and applicable across a number of region types and is intended to become a much-needed support for the development of climate services.

About the dicussant-and-moderator
Ulka Kelkar

Director, Climate Programme, World Resources Institute (WRI) India

Ulka Kelkar is an economist with two decades of experience in climate change research, capacity building and outreach. She leads WRI India’s work on climate policy which aims to support India’s pathway to a climate-resilient low-carbon economy through judicious national policies, carbon market mechanisms, and effective implementation in states and cities. Before joining WRI India, she worked as a consultant climate assessment specialist for the Asian Development Bank, and as a research fellow at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE).


Time Programme Speakers
13:45–13:50 Welcome and introduction Chi H Truong (Shachi),
Programme Coordinator and Secretariat Lead, The Himalayan University Consortium, ICIMOD
13:50–14:50 From global to local: Bringing meaning to climate change through storylines Ted Shepherd FRS,
Grantham Professor of Climate Science, University of Reading, UK
14:50–15:00 E-break  
15:00–15:45 Roundtable discussion: Local perceptions of climate change in the Hindu Kush Himalaya Moderated by:
Ulka Kelkar,
Director, Climate Programme, World Resources Institute (WRI) India

Shahrin Mannan, Programme Coordinator-Resilience Programme, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), Dhaka, Bangladesh
Om Katel, Dean, Research and Industrial Linkages, College of Natural Resources, Royal University of Bhutan
Santosh Nepal, Water and Climate Specialist, Water and Air, ICIMOD, Nepal