In the new anti-normal, climate adaptation is king

My last PlanetSave story ended with an upbeat reference to the coming boom in what is now widely called the new Climate Adaptation Economy, or the fast-growing field of companies providing resilience solutions in the United States and around the world.

Setting the stage is the science pointing to an overshoot of the 1.5 degree Celsius global temperature rise that will throw the planet into a spiral of irreversible climate change staring at around 2030, or less than 15 years from now, with the long dreaded 2 degree rise about a decade after that.

In response, many governments and companies have spent months and in some cases years taking serious steps to become resilient in the face of these climate impacts, which threaten to overwhelm any and all mitigation efforts and produce a fairly rapid collapse of the world economy.

The amounts are yet unclear, but what we do know is that billions of dollars are being invested, fevereshly in such stand-out places as California and Denmark, on measures to safeguard people and assets from the looming relentless wave of storms, droughts, forest fires, sea level rise, urban heat and more.

Did you notice all those multinational corporations pressuring President Donald Trump not to exit the Paris Climate Agreement? Well, take a look at CERES, the group representing trillions of dollars of investment pressure spearheading the Climate Adaptation Economy.

Several landmark reports by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate project upwards of $100 trillion in related global investments leading up to the critical 2030 timeframe, the bulk in resilience measures by companies and governments. You read that right: ONE HUNDRED TRILLION DOLLARS.

The Rockefeller Foundation’s Judith Rodin calls it the Resilience Dividend in her recent book by that name, and it is HUGE.

In the U.S., New York City is leading the way, with a dedicated government office and such large-scale coastal infrastructure projects as The Dryline and the East River Blueway Plan (pictured above).

Want to learn more? Google “resilience initiatives” and behold, for this is the immediate and near-term future of the U.S. and global economy at every level, and Trump’s fateful decision has given it a significant boost.

Business in the Anti-Normal

If you’re a company that offers an adaptation solution, your time has come to shine. If you’re a sociopreneur looking for a segment to make your mark, none will grow faster or be more mission-critical than this one, so get in NOW.

I published this story in Medium a month before the Paris Agreement outlining some of the industries certain to win. There’s the obvious, like infrastructure and indoor urban food, and the less evident, including such human-sustenance services as healthcare and education. All will be severely tested and will demand resilience solutions.

The list of adaptation industries and segments is… loooong.

Decarbonization and mitigation, or the thus-far successful decoupling of carbon from value chains and economic growth, must and surely will continue, unfazed and undeterred. The purpose, though, has changed. No longer is it to prevent 1.5C or 2C, since the clock is about to expire on that goal, but to keep us ultimately in the 3C range and avoid even more catastrophic consequences. As bad as the 2C-3C world will be, beyond 3C…well, let’s not even contemplate that yet. Just continue decarbonizing like crazy!

And adapting, to protect from the impacts coming without fail. This is the new front. There is no way to know exactly how much protection all those investments and solutions will buy us. Climate change past 1.5C will be inherently unpredictable. I call it the New Anti-Normal, since the disruption due to begin in the 2030s will not allow us to settle into any normalcy at all.

But we can be certain that the adaptation path from here to there will drive the economy here and everywhere.


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