MARCO Chats with Elisa Jiménez Alonso of Acclimatise

In this section, we speak climate services with the MARCO project partners. Our debut interview features Elisa with whom we discuss the the climate services community and how to overcome obstacles faced to the road to strengthening it.

MARCO: Tell us a bit about Acclimatise. What does it do and in which way is it involved in the climate services community?
Elisa: Acclimatise is a specialist consulting, communications and digital application company providing world-class expertise in climate change adaptation and risk management. We only focus on adaptation, and our work is shaping the adaptation agenda across the world. We bridge the gap between the latest scientific developments and real world decision-making, helping our clients to introduce cost-effective measures to build climate resilience into their strategies, processes and activities.
We have offices in the UK, France, India, USA, and the Caribbean and have worked in over 80 countries. Our work covers a variety public and sector sectors, from the extractive industries and financial services to defence and international development.
Acclimatise is a climate services provider. We use climate data products and socio-economic information to provide our clients with climate risk and vulnerability assessments, as well as adaptation options and resilience building strategies based our experience of over more than 10 years working with the latest science and developing best practices across the world.

MARCO: What would you say are the obstacles that stand in the way of strengthening the climate services community?
Elisa: The climate services community seems very focused on itself and is always trying to define itself and its future through its own eyes. There needs to be much more engagement with the user side, be it established climate services users or potential ones. The community is very much driven by what products it thinks it should supply, rather than those actual users really want and need.
Many issues the climate services community has are undoubtedly connected to its very young age and the fact that climate services draws from so many other sectors: natural science, international development, energy, disaster risk management, water, agriculture, etc. The entry routes to become part of the climate services community are manifold and so are the identities of all the actors involved. This might also lead to many different ideas regarding what the supply of climate services products should look like. The key to overcoming this, is talking to the user.

MARCO: How would you explain climate services to the general public? Why should they be interested in climate services?
Elisa: Generally speaking, I would say that climate services offer different types of information that help us manage our climate risks and opportunities, and make decisions accordingly. The reasons why people might be interested in this type of information are vast and diverse and very difficult to answer simply. But, what I would say is that the general public may not be very interested in climate services, but very interested in the final outcome: a meaningful climate action, be it by making food systems resilient or cutting greenhouse gas emissions to reduce our contribution to climate change. A strong climate services community that knows its users and clients can effectively help build the climate resilience of a society.

MARCO: What is the best part of MARCO and EU-MACS? How do you think these projects will change the future of climate services in Europe?
Elisa: I think MARCO and EUMACS will help the climate services community understand their users much better. They will also serve as a motivator to engage user communities more. I also hope that we will find out new and exciting areas for innovation potential that will drive new research and business opportunities, as well as job growth in the sector.

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