It’s Getting Hotter

As climate scientists have been continuously warning, the Earth is getting hotter. And yet, perhaps some of you still fall into the “how can this be, it’s freezing out here ” camp. Sorry, but weather is not the same thing as climate and the vagaries of local weather—including the recent record-breaking cold snap across North America–are not the same thing as global climate patterns. The fact is, the last four years are the hottest on record globally.

These rising temperatures are leading to massive windstorms and rising waters. They are leading to buildings blowing or floating away, power disappearing for days on end, bridges falling down, highways washing out, and other destruction causing injuries and death… and of course, business disruption.

For some however, rising temperatures are having a positive effect. My neighbor, a long- time dairy farmer, tells me that he now gets an extra week or two of crop time in the spring and in the fall. More growing time yields more hay—at no additional cost. This saves him from having to buy and haul in extra hay in the summer to prevent his cows from going hungry over the winter. Since dairy farming is a very low margin business the savings make quite a difference to his year-end financial results.

In spite of all the warnings, the science to back them up, and the destruction we see and read about almost daily in the world around us, many still deny something’s happening. Seems they ignore their own eyes in favor of hoping it’s all a mirage.

One industry that knows all about the devastating effects of global warming is insurance. Insurance companies are figuring climate change in when calculating the rates you’ll pay for insurance…if you can get it.

For those of you who haven’t really thought about the implications of global warming for your business, here are two suggestions.

First, perform a thorough assessment of its impact. Be tough about this. No “I think I’ll take any low estimates I find and ignore the high estimates when preparing.” After a tough assessment looking at worst case, take the bad results into consideration as you climate change proof all parts of your business. Get started now, before the strengthening hurricanes and rising waters overwhelm you.

Second, consider how you can actually benefit from climate change. There are countless opportunities to create products and services to mitigate the effects. Look at your business and think about what you can offer along these lines. Or perhaps you’ll come up with a completely new business idea that takes advantage of melting polar ice or eases the path to re-settlement for people migrating as climate change drives them out of their historic territory.

The important thing is to face the inevitable future and prepare before it boils you. Don’t just hope to be a survivor, flourish while deniers float away.

Commenting area

  1. Climate change is upon us. One of the best reads to understand “denial.” and how it affects our behavior is “Mistakes were made, but not by me.”

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