The recent World Meteorological Organizations (WMO) Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes shows that of the 22 326 disasters recorded worldwide from 1970 to 2019 over 11 000 were attributed to weather, climate and water-related hazards.
Those disasters resulted in 2.06 million deaths and US$ 3.64 trillion in losses.
Some 44% of the disasters were associated with floods (riverine floods 24%, general floods 14%) and 17% with tropical cyclones.
Tropical cyclones and droughts were the most prevalent hazards with respect to human losses, accounting for 38% and 34% of disaster related deaths respectively.
In terms of economic losses, 38% were associated with tropical cyclones, while different types of floods account for 31%, riverine floods (20%), general floods (8%) and flash floods (3%) (WMO, 2021).
It is of course no surprise that disasters associated with floods and tropical cyclones featured so prominently in the last 50 years. As the planet continues to heat up the atmosphere holds more moisture causing these extreme precipitation events.
This is set to continue and worsen as we approach 1.5°C of warming. (Currently we are at 1.1°C)
What does this have to do with business?
As we move deeper into this decade the urgent need to curb emissions is going to grow exponentially. Basically, every single activity that emits carbon is going to come under severe scrutiny and legislation will follow in an attempt to reduce or eliminate the emission source.
The bottom line is, the less exposed your business is to the need to burn fossil fuels in order to generate revenue, the less disrupted you will be.
The pandemic and its resultant disruption is forcing many organizations to rebuild. This is the perfect opportunity to do a carbon audit of your business and put a strategy in place to begin a systematic decoupling from fossil fuels.
Right now for most businesses immediate action can be taken related to transport (commutes) and the buildings occupied. (See We are at a critical juncture)
Do we need a daily commute in order to get work done?
Does this event/meeting have to be in-person?
Do we need to house the business in a office building?
Any work done to curb or eliminate emissions is going to be a step in building resilience against the fast approaching carbon legislation.
Don’t be caught off guard!