Climate change and the risk it poses to businesses and communities has been in the headlines this week, including one article by Reuters analyst Gerard Wynn that claims “rising temperatures are driving more frequent bouts of extreme weather,” some of which we saw this year. While Wynn and others (such as myself) are in agreement that climate change is behind some extreme weather events, others continue to staunchly deny such links.
In his article, Wynn references the fact that global carbon emissions rose by a record amount last year (6%), making it the biggest one-year jump in history and proving that even though the world economy may be in tatters, ozone-depleting gasses continue to be emitted at an alarming rate. And, according to statements issued today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “It is virtually certain that increases in the frequency and magnitude of warm daily temperature extremes and decreases in cold extremes will occur in the 21st century on the global scale. It is likely that the frequency of heavy precipitation or the proportion of total rainfall from heavy falls will increase in the 21st century over many areas of the globe.”
The report, which the IPCC said was a scientific foundation for sound decisions on infrastructure, urban development, public health and insurance, also states that there are many options for decreasing risk, with the best options providing solutions across a wide range of possible levels of climate change.
But this is just the most recent of string of reports suggesting that human-induced climate change is linked to some severe weather events. For business to continue to prosper within the world economy, adopting a greener way of business is the only way to decrease the risk of future extreme weather events affecting organizations and society in general.
Though the Kyoto Protocol has striven to be a catalayst of global change, the United States (the world’s number two carbon emitter) is still in stubborn denial of the need to adopt such carbon-cutting measures. To that end, China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, plans to nudge the U.S. towards more action at a South African summit later this month. Expectations, however, are low.
As the Associated Press reported today:
Top international climate scientists and disaster experts meeting in Africa had a sharp message Friday for the world’s political leaders: Get ready for more dangerous and “unprecedented extreme weather” caused by global warming.
Making preparations, they say, will save lives and money.
These experts fear that without preparedness, crazy weather extremes may overwhelm some locations, making some places unlivable.
As a climate deal is unlikely soon and emissions continue to grow, the future is grim.