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Extreme weather: The killer climate app?

Lots of business people are not convinced about climate change.

Reading about what the small group of leading companies are doing in the sustainability media, you’d think all top bosses understood the coming changes.

Not true. Like any other area of society, many in business want climate change not to be true. As Al Gore postulated, the idea is deeply inconvenient.

Carbon trading hasn’t been the revolution some promised it would be.

Carbon offsets lack credibility. (and are leading to unfortunate follow-ons such as sustainable palm oil certificate trading)

Product footprinting is expensive and ‘upstream’ carbon reduction mandates are not happening outside the EU.

To add to that, the science, understandably, can’t tell us exactly when climate change is going to become a major cost, or even precisely where.

If that all sounds rather bleak, I’m sorry. I don’t want the blog to become all about negatives.

I won’t try and paint this as a positive, but if you want to persuade top bosses about the risks of not taking climate change seriously, given the above, here’s a simple way to do it: Educate them on weather risk.

Insurance companies, or some of them, have been taking weather risk much more seriously for years.

Now, new findings may help you make the case to the C-Suite for managing climate risk and mapping future liabilities.

Scientific American reports that:

“2011 has seen eight $1-billion-plus disasters, with total damages from wild weather at more than $32 billion, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration…

…Overall, NOAA experts said extreme weather events have grown more frequent in the United States since 1980. Part of that shift is due to climate change, said Tom Karl, director of the agency’s National Climatic Data Center.”

As the article points out, separating out the variables around specific weather events and short term trends is tough, if not impossible. But the trends are clear: a warming planet is going to mean increased weather related risk to business.

Perhaps senior executives in business are just not hearing enough about this trend from their sustainability teams.

Have you briefed upper management on weather risk recently? Doing so might be a good idea.

Energy efficiency concerns and opportunities are driving much of the current corporate sustainability agenda.

Perhaps weather risk awareness can help encourage spending on research into future risks for your business.

1 Comment

  1. Last year I posted a similar suggestion aimed at individuals: how to explain global warming to home buyers

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