EmBARK – Temporal evolution of barriers to adaptation and their relevance for climate related loss and damage

THESys Project

The EmBARK project investigates time scales and possible trajectories of socio-economic transformation processes and analyses their relevance as potential barriers to adaptation to climate change. An improved understanding of the temporal dynamics of such barriers is decisive to develop a more realistic understanding of future climate impacts and for scientifically robust assessments of future climate related Loss and Damage (L&D), understood here as impacts of climate change that are not avoided through adaptation at a certain point in time. The EmBARK consortium partners, the interdisciplinary IRI THESys institute at Humboldt University Berlin and Climate Analytics, an institute with long-standing expertise in climate research and climate policy, bring together leading expertise in global change research. In close cooperation with several of the world’s leading research institutions, the EmBARK project combines data-driven approaches of societal change with regional assessments of barriers to adaptation and attribution of climate signals to future emission pathways in order to further our understanding of climate and societal trajectories over the 21st century. The EmBARK project establishes an interdisciplinary research framework to study climate-resilient development pathways and to provide a scientific basis for the development of policy concepts on L&D. The inclusion of L&D in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change underscores the policy relevance of the matter and will stimulate the scientific community. The EmBARK project is well prepared to take a leading role in this emerging field.

EmBARK is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), under the grant agreement No. 01LN1711A.


Selected peer-reviewed publications:

Schleussner, C.-F., Pfleiderer, P., Andrijevic, M., Vogel, M. M., Otto, F. E. L. and Seneviratne, S. I.. (2021). Pathways of climate resilience over the 21st century, Environ. Res. Lett., 0–30, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/abed79.

Pfleiderer, P., Jezequel, A., Legrand, J., Legrix, N., Markantonis, I., Vignotto, E. and Yiou, P. (2021). Simulating compound weather extremes responsible for critical crop failure with stochastic weather generators. Earth Syst. Dyn., 12(1), 103–120

Andrijevic, M., Schleussner, C. F., Gidden, M. J., McCollum, D. L., & Rogelj, J. (2020). COVID-19 recovery funds dwarf clean energy investment needs. Science, 370(6514), 298-300.

Andrijevic, M., Cuaresma, J. C., Muttarak, R., & Schleussner, C. F. (2020). Governance in socioeconomic pathways and its role for future adaptive capacity. Nature Sustainability, 3(1), 35-41.

Andrijevic, M., Cuaresma, J. C., Lissner, T., Thomas, A., & Schleussner, C. F. (2020). Overcoming gender inequality for climate resilient development. Nature communications, 11(1), 1-8.

Pfleiderer, P., Schleussner, C. F., Geiger, T., & Kretschmer, M. (2020). Robust predictors for seasonal Atlantic hurricane activity identified with causal effect networks. Weather and Climate Dynamics, 1(2), 313-324.

Pfleiderer, P., Menke, I., & Schleussner, C. F. (2019). Increasing risks of apple tree frost damage under climate change. Climatic Change, 157(3), 515-525.

Pfleiderer, P., Schleussner, C. F., Kornhuber, K., & Coumou, D. (2019). Summer weather becomes more persistent in a 2 C world. Nature Climate Change, 9(9), 666-671.

Pfleiderer, P., & Coumou, D. (2018). Quantification of temperature persistence over the Northern Hemisphere land-area. Climate Dynamics, 51(1), 627-637.

Pfleiderer, P., Schleussner, C. F., Mengel, M., & Rogelj, J. (2018). Global mean temperature indicators linked to warming levels avoiding climate risks. Environmental Research Letters, 13(6), 064015.

Schleussner, C.-F., Deryng, D., D’haen, S., Hare, W., Lissner, T., Ly, M., Nauels, A., Noblet, M., Pfleiderer, P., Pringle, P., Rokitzki, M., Saeed, F., Schaeffer, M., Serdeczny, O. and Thomas, A.: 1.5°C Hotspots: Climate Hazards, Vulnerabilities, and Impacts, Annu. Rev. Environ. Resour., 43(1), 135–163, doi:10.1146/annurev-environ-102017-025835, 2018.

In January 2021, Emily Theokritoff organised a virtual workshop, one of the components of her planned fieldwork in the Caribbean. Despite the remoteness induced by the pandemic, the roundtable a success. Twelve participants from eight countries in the Caribbean region, mostly policy-makers working in ministries of environment and adaptation practitioners based at national meteorological services, attended the workshop. The concepts of constraints, limits, transformational adaptation, and loss and damage were presented and discussed. In addition, the participants shared their experiences on how these concepts translate in practice and how they can be useful for future work. The two-day workshop generated novel findings that are going to keep Emily busy for months to come.

Project Team

PI: Prof. Dr. Carl-Friedrich Schleussner (IRI THESys)

Doctoral Researchers: Marina Andrijevic (IRI THESys), Emily Theokritoff (Climate Analytics), Peter Pfleiderer (IRI THESys), Olivia Serdeczny (Climate Analytics)

Project Partners

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford

International Institute for Advanced System Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg/Vienna


Image credits: Anadolu Agency