Weathering the Storm: Building Business Resilience to Climate Change

Businesses face growing threats from extreme weather and climate change: damage to facilities, loss of water or power supplies, higher costs, and disruption of supply and distribution chains.

In this report, C2ES provides a detailed snapshot of the state of resilience planning among a cross-section of global companies and outlines steps companies can take to better assess and manage their growing climate risks.

The report includes a comprehensive review of resilience practices among S&P Global 100 Index companies and detailed case studies of six companies in diverse sectors: American Water, Bayer, The Hartford Group, National Grid, Rio Tinto and Weyerhaeuser.  It also draws on input from a technical workshop with representatives of a wide range of industries.

Key Findings:

  • Ninety percent of S&P Global 100 Index companies identify extreme weather and climate change as current or future business risks.
  • Almost two-thirds (62 percent) say they are experiencing climate change impacts now, or expect to in the coming decade.
  • Companies are most concerned about the direct impacts of extreme weather on property, production and supplies, and indirect impacts on operational costs, such as higher prices for commodities or insurance.
  • Most companies are managing these risks through existing business continuity and emergency management plans. Only a few have used climate-specific tools to comprehensively assess risks.
  • Most companies (75 percent) also see new opportunities from a changing climate, including drought-resistant crops, storm-resistant building materials, and weather-related insurance products.

Infrastructure, Engineering and Climate Change Adaptation – Ensuring Services in an Uncertain Future

This study was an activity of the Engineering the Future partnership, carried out on behalf of Defra by The Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the Institution of Chemical Engineers. The conclusions of the study will feed into the Defra led cross-Government Infrastructure and Adaptation project. The study was carried out from the perspective of the engineering profession and the engineering response to the demands of climate change adaptation.

Engineers will be central to the process of adaptation, both ensuring that current infrastructure assets are protected from the long term and acute affects of climate change, and developing new infrastructure systems fit for changing climate conditions. Investing in engineering efforts to protect infrastructure is essential both to minimise risks to infrastructure, and thereby the public and the economy, due to climate change; and to maximise opportunities for the profession and the economy in developing cost-effective and marketable solutions to adaptation needs.

This report examines vulnerabilities in different sectors of the national infrastructure to the effects of climate change and the modifications that would be needed to increase resilience. It also considers vulnerabilities that affect the infrastructure system as a whole and which arise as a result of interdependencies between different sectors. The effects of climate change on infrastructure are not limited to changes in weather, but include the impact on infrastructure of efforts toward climate change mitigation, and climate induced changes in behaviour and demographics. These must be considered alongside other developments such as population growth and changes in the economic environment.

 

Climate Change and Energy Supply and Use

This technical report on “Climate Change and Energy Supply and Use” was prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in support of the U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA). Prepared on an accelerated schedule to fit time requirements for the NCA, it is a summary of the currently existing knowledge base on its topic, nested within a broader framing of issues and questions that need fur- ther attention in the longer run (also see the on-line version of the report, which includes figures in color: http://www.esd.ornl.gov/eess/NCAEnergySupply.shtml).

The report arrives at a number of “assessment findings,” each associated with an evaluation of the level of consensus on that issue within the expert community, the vol- ume of evidence available to support that judgment, and the section of the report that provides an explanation for the finding.

GCRP, 2009, indicates that the US energy sector is large and complex, with impres- sive financial and management resources, capable of responding to major challenges. It is accustomed to strategy development and operation in the fact of uncertainties and risks, both environmental and political. No sector has better capabilities to respond to challenges posed by climate change impacts.

Current knowledge indicates that such challenges tend to focus on climate-change- related episodic disruptions of energy supply and demand related to extreme weather events at a regional scale, on exposures related to risks in especially vulnerable areas, and on implications of changes in temperature and precipitation patterns – extremes as well as averages – for supply and use systems that are sensitive to climate parameters.

Climate Change Adaptation Plan for Coastal and Inland Wetlands in the State of Michigan

This report was developed for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Wetlands Program and Coastal Management Program. However, the DEQ has only part of the responsibilities and authorities that will be part of any comprehensive approach to implementing a climate change adaptation plan for the state’s wetlands. Carrying out many of the recommendations in this document will require the cooperation, expertise and active engagement of many other state, local, and regional agencies and groups. Collectively this much larger partnership will need to review the recommendations in the report and reach agreement on specific actions that can be taken to ensure that wetland resources are included in broader strategies to address and adapt to climate change.

 

Adapting to Climate Change: A Handbook for Local Governments in North Carolina

The Coastal Hazards Center at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) has developed a handbook to help local governments in North Carolina adapt to climate change. The handbook demonstrates the need for local action and explains the options that are open to local governments.

Climate change is and will continue to impact every community in North Carolina, the United States and indeed the world. In North Carolina climate change is expected to increase extreme heat, increase the frequency and severity of drought, raise sea levels, increase the intensity of hurricanes, and increase heavy precipitation.

If no action is taken these changes may cause a decline in public health, economic loss, and environmental damage. Fortunately, there are many tools at the disposal of local governments to address these impacts; many are already in use. The handbook emphasizes these opportunities and provides guidance to retool existing policy and programs to address climate change.

Adapting Vermont’s Transportation Infrastructure to the Future Impacts of Climate Change

The purpose of this white paper is to provide an overview of climate related adaptation and resilience oriented efforts underway at the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans). In recognition of the potentially negative consequences of climate change to well-being of Vermont, VTrans is in process of incorporating adaptive management, policies, and plans into every level of planning, design, operations, and maintenance.

The recommendations made in this report have ‘no-regrets’ in that they will increase the effectiveness of long-term decision making under any future climate scenario. Due to the uncertainties associated with long-term climate forecasts, it is not prudent to significantly change specific management practices, codes, and standards, and other policies based on these forecast. Rather, the Agency should focus on minimizing vulnerability to current weather norms while developing holistic analytical tools to enable planners, designers, and decision-makers to better adapt to future climate conditions.

Water in Climate Change: A Background Report of CIPRA

Within the project “cc.alps – climate change: thinking one step further!” the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps (CIPRA) investigates climate response measures in the Alps. CIPRA compiles information on climate protection activities and adjustments to climate change in the Alps (hereinafter referred to as climate response measures) and analyses the impacts of these climate measures on the environment, economy and society. CIPRA‘s aim is to make climate response measures comply with the principles of sustainable development, to make these information accessible to a broader public, and to warn the public of those measures that have negative effects on nature, the environment, social cohesion and the economy.

The “CIPRA compact” series comprises several thematic publications that take a critical look at climate measures in the Alps. The series covers the following activities in addition to the subject of “water”: energy, building and refurbishing, energy self-sufficient regions, spatial planning, transport, tourism, natural hazards, nature protection, forestry and agriculture.

The Water in Climate Change compact deals with actual and proposed climate change response measures in the water sector. CIPRA’s key concerns about trends in the water sector, given the region’s role as the “water tower of Europe” and the expected impacts of a changing climate, are given in section 2. Section 3 begins with an overview of the water sector and projected impacts of climate change in the region, as well as summarizing other inter-related trends in water management. It goes on to outline how stakeholders are responding to the situation, analyse the climate change response measures and address necessary policy changes. A summary of the situation and the author’s main conclusions are given in section 4. Section 5 details exemplary projects that demonstrate effective ways to respond to climate change (and other inter-related development trends), which are compatible with sustainable development. Relevant references and links are listed in section 6.

 

Review of Current and Planned Adaptation Action: The Caribbean

Growing understanding of the need to adapt to the impacts of climate change has led to a significant rise in ongoing and planned adaptation action in the developing regions of the world, including the Caribbean. This upsurge in climate change adaptation action is a welcome occurrence, but enhanced coordination among expanding networks of adaptation actors is needed to ensure resources are deployed quickly and effectively. Responding to this concern, a review of current and planned adaptation action in the Caribbean was undertaken by the Adaptation Partnership between October 2010 and April 2011. Covering the countries of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago, the rapid review examined: priority adaptation needs; efforts by governments to support adaptation though policy and planning; the scope of international support for adaptation efforts in different countries and sectors; and potential gaps in adaptation efforts at the country and regional level. This review of adaptation action in the Caribbean is one of 12 profiles covering regions in Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean completed by the Adaptation Partnership.

Review of Current and Planned Adaptation Action: South Asia

Growing understanding of the need to adapt to the impacts of climate change has led to a significant increase in ongoing and planned adaptation action in the developing regions of the world, including South Asia. This upsurge in climate change adaptation action is a welcome occurrence, but enhanced coordination among expanding networks of adaptation actors is needed to ensure resources are deployed quickly and effectively. Responding to this concern, a review of current and planned adaptation action in Central Asia was undertaken by the Adaptation Partnership1 between October 2010 and April 2011. Covering the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the rapid review examined: priority adaptation needs; efforts by governments to support adaptation though policy and planning; the scope of international support for adaptation efforts in different countries and sectors; and potential gaps in adaptation efforts at the country and regional levels. This review of adaptation action in South Asia is one of 12 profiles covering regions in Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean completed by the Adaptation Partnership.

Review of Current and Planned Adaptation Action: The Pacific

Growing understanding of the need to adapt to the impacts of climate change has led to a significant rise in ongoing and planned adaptation action in the developing regions of the world, including the Pacific. This upsurge in climate change adaptation action is a welcome occurrence, but enhanced coordination among expanding networks of adaptation actors is needed to ensure resources are deployed quickly and effectively. Responding to this concern, a review of current and planned adaptation action in the Pacific was undertaken by the Adaptation Partnership1 between October 2010 and April 2011. This review covered the countries of the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The review identified: priority adaptation needs; efforts by governments to support adaptation though policy and planning; the scope of international support for adaptation efforts in different countries and sectors; and potential gaps in adaptation efforts at the country and regional level. This review of adaptation action in the Pacific is one of 12 profiles covering regions of Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean completed by the Adaptation Partnership.