This week, I joined more than 200 business leaders at The Wall Street Journal's ECO:nomics conference to discuss how business and government can work together to increase resilience and mitigate risk in the face of climate change.
Over the past five years we’ve had a number of storms that have surprised people and exposed our vulnerabilities – those of manufacturers and suppliers, and of insurers and reinsurers. Flooding in Thailand and, closer to my home in the tri-state area, Hurricane Sandy, caused severe damage and brought to light a number of weak links.
The truth is, we’re never going to know exactly when and where the next storm will hit. What we can do is start working together in earnest – because public/private partnerships are critical to this solution – to invest in and embrace adaption projects.
- We need to model these storms in our communities to find out what a similar event would mean there. How many suppliers would be disrupted? How would business, in turn, be interrupted? How many employees would not be able to go to work for an extended period? The ability to estimate an economic loss – as shown in our Economics of Climate Adaptation report – gives leaders actionable guidance rather than interesting but unusable data.
- We can secure infrastructure in a smarter way, whether it’s a power grid, a subway system or underground parking structures.
- We also need to start thinking about the locations of communities. I foresee a day where we declare – in a private/public format – new types of development zones that encourage people in a number of different ways, such as tax incentives, to move away from the shorelines and build in new areas.
Please take a few minutes to watch an excerpt of my conversation with The Wall Street Journal editor and Stanford University professor, Jeff Ball.
Category: Climate/natural disasters: Climate change, Disaster risk, Floods/storms, Resilience