climate change megatrend
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated the the "Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal." NASA's tracking of the vital signs of the planet shows rising sea levels, global temperature rise, warming oceans, shrinking ice sheets, declining arctic sea ice, glacial retreat, increasing extreme events, ocean acidification and decreased snow cover. Despite all the data, how climate change will play out in terms of its impact on our daily lives is subject to intense debate.
Two areas with potentially large impacts on business though are becoming clearer, and more frightening: the increasing incidence of billion-dollar weather and climate disasters, and a growing concern for the sufficiency of water supply, particularly in some large cities.
Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Environmental Information shows that during the 1980's there were 27 weather and climate events that did more than $1 billion in damage in the U.S. During the 1990's there were 48 such events. In the 2000's this rose to 54 events. Even now, only partly through the decade of the 2010's, there have been 74 billion-dollar weather and climate disasters through the end of 2016.
According to the United Nations, while today round 700 million people suffer from water scarcity, by 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world's population may be living in water stressed conditions. As an essential need for life, the primacy of water scarcity rises quickly to the top of the agenda for an ever increasing number of countries, regions, and cities.
Climate change has the potential to be the most devastating of the megatrends as it may profoundly impact the ability to sustain life itself in some areas. Even without such a drastic outcome, we are already seeing tremendous impacts of climate change in the dramatic increase in billion-dollar weather events and increasing water scarcity in major cities such as Beijing. Water scarcity has the potential to disrupt supply chains in many industries, requiring adaptation of business processes, a reassessment of the value chain and increased risk in the supply chain. Severe weather events also have the potential for severe short-term disruptions not only to businesses located in the affected areas, but also to supply chains and transportation and logistics systems.
Preparing for the unpredictability of severe weather events is particularly challenging for businesses, but the increasing incidence of these events means that businesses must develop emergency plans for events that severely impact their business, employees, customers and suppliers.
How will Climate Change impact your business?
Visit our Corporate Solutions tab to explore ways to prepare for the impact of climate change and other megatrends that will impact your business over the coming years.
NASA Global Climate Change: http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) U.S. Billion-dollar Weather and Climate Disasters (2017). https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/
UN Water scarcity: http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/scarcity.shtml