Climate change – in sight, out of mind

This automated Alert suggests that the time is coming soon when every organisation will have to show that it is doing its utmost to mitigate the worst effects of climate change and have in place adaptive strategies to cope. Time for organisations’ worldwide to anticipate and prepare for a wilder future and benefit from reputation and brand resilience.

What is changing?

Risk

  • A changing climate and rapidly growing exposure to disaster risk presents the world with an unprecedented challenge.
  • Global greenhouse gas emissions could rise far beyond the safe limits.
  • The cost of extreme weather events could increase by a factor of ten with climate change over the next 35 years.
  • Climate change and urbanization are identified as trends that contribute to the risk of food and water crises.
  • As climate change brings more extreme events wind, wave and tidal power will be affected.
  • A ‘megadrought’ will grip the U.S. in the coming decades.
  • Inadequate information about the Earth’s climate system creates technical, political, social, and economic risk in geoengineering activities.
  • Increases in heat-waves and bushfires pose the biggest threat to Australia’s agricultural regions.
  • The reduction of wetlands, natural sinks and unsealed soil dramatically increases the risk of flooding as climate change kicks in.
  • Extreme weather situations will cause even more health risks for certain population groups.

Migration

  • Analogue climates will shift out of more than 61 per cent of protected areas resulting in many species needing to move to cooler areas if they are to track climate changes.
  • Climate change will make the water levels of the rivers rise and consequently the groundwater levels will do so.

Loss

  • The risk of economic loss due to floods has increased by over 160% and to tropical cyclones by 265% in OECD countries.
  • Rainfall and temperature changes will affect wheat growth.
  • A warmer and drier climate will pose significant challenges to beef production systems in southern Australia.
  • A failure to cut emissions will dramatically increase adaptation costs.
  •  More than a million homes and businesses along the U.S. coasts could flood repeatedly before ultimately being destroyed.
  • Climate change disruptions and the globalization of transportation and food networks will amplify the impacts of disasters widely.

Mitigation

  • Optimal climate change mitigation strategies depend on sustainable forest management and will vary from place to place taking into account regional and local conditions.
  • Recycling alone is not going to do much to prevent disastrous climate change.
  • Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Cities will have to take responsibility for reducing CO2 emissions.
  • Companies will need to measure embedded carbon in products and services.
  • Risk of climate change will force companies to be required to account for solutions.
  • Many analysts still expect China’s CO2 emissions to grow through 2030.
  • Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained
    reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.
Implications

Management

  • Sustainability will be incorporated as a standard process.
  • Companies are incorporating climate risk into their overall risk management analyses.
  • Technologies should be fully vetted for potential negative environmental or social impacts prior to deployment and a “precautionary approach” should be applied to technologies that pose a threat of serious of irreversible damage.
  • Making targeted investments now could make significant financial savings in the future.
  • Governments will need radical new policies to reach goals for safeguarding the environment by 2050 after limited progress in curbing pollution and climate change.

Agriculture

  • Crop yields could decline by 15-20 percent across Africa south of the Sahara.
  • Stronger typhoons and floods could further threaten the significant food security gains made thus far.
  • Risks to food security are likely to intensify with population pressures, waterscarcity, and climate change.
  • Underground rainfall patterns will become more erratic with climate changeand the underground water reserves will suffer as a result.

Energy

  • New sources of fossil fuels could weaken the momentum behind global efforts to boost efficiency and mitigate climate change.

Adaptation

  • Africa’s adaptation costs could rise to $50 billion a year if global warming is held to below two degrees celsius.
  • Climate change could have a “huge impact” on China.
  • Scientists fear that pledges made so far to cut emissions will not be  enough to avoid the harmful impact of climate change.
  • Anticipatory strategies are needed for adapting the urban structures in a way that the impacts of a changing climate will not endanger the urban living environment.

Conflict

  • Pakistan’s demographic trends could exacerbate climate-related tensions.
  • Failure to reduce emissions could threaten society with food shortages, refugee crises, the flooding of major cities and entire island nations.
  • As climate change corrodes traditional ways of life in some developing countries, grievances and frustrations can increase the risk of conflict.

Learn more
To find the sources and more resources on Shaping Tomorrow about the future of climate change some of which were used in this Trend Alert. View Climate change – in sight, out of mind.

Also, click here to find out how Shaping Tomorrow can help your organization rapidly assess and respond to these and other key issues affecting your business.

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