Sustainable Development as a Strategy for Climate Risk Management

July 27, 2023

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Climate change, escalating the frequency and severity of natural disasters, underscores the need for risk management and sustainable development. Global temperatures are expected to reach new records in the next five years. Current emission reductions are insufficient, necessitating carbon capture technologies, as stressed by the 2023 IPCC report. Trends indicate a growing focus on sustainability and advancements in tech for emissions measurement and predictive modeling. Major contributors to climate change include energy production, agriculture, and countries like China, the U.S., and India. Policy rollbacks and fossil fuel subsidies, however, continue to hinder progress.

MarketsandMarkets welcomes the encouraging developments, and we look at the challenges here.


Climate Factors in Disaster Risks Management and Mitigation

Climate change is increasingly being acknowledged as a major factor in disaster risk management and mitigation. The link between climate change and the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events is now well established. Disasters such as floods, hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, and heatwaves are becoming more common and intense, making disaster risk management a more complex and difficult task.

  1. Is risk management becoming more difficult?- Yes, risk management is indeed becoming more challenging due to the changing climate.
  2. Increased frequency and intensity of disasters: Climate change is leading to more frequent and intense weather-related disasters. This puts increased strain on risk management systems, which must now cope with a higher number of events, each of which is potentially more damaging than in the past. 
  3. Greater unpredictability: The changing climate is making weather patterns more unpredictable. This makes it harder to accurately assess risk and prepare for disasters. 
  4. Complex interactions: Climate change does not act in isolation but interacts with other environmental, social, and economic factors. This makes it difficult to disentangle the effects of climate change from other influences, complicating the risk management process. 
  5. How are disasters changing? - Disasters are becoming more frequent and severe. According to the WMO – World Meterological Organization – the last two decades have seen a dramatic increase in the number of weather-related disasters, from floods and storms to heatwaves and wildfires. Additionally, the geographical range of these disasters is also expanding, with areas that were previously safe now at risk. 
  6. What is the impact of disasters? Is it becoming more severe recently? - The impact of disasters has become more severe in the past few years. This can be seen in terms of both human suffering and economic damage. The number of people affected by disasters has risen dramatically, with millions displaced from their homes every year. The economic damage is also increasing, with the cost of disasters running into the hundreds of billions of dollars annually. Disasters can have long-term impacts, damaging infrastructure, disrupting economies, and setting back development efforts. 
  7. Are governments prepared? - The preparedness of governments varies widely. Some, particularly in developed countries, have made significant strides in improving their disaster risk management systems. However, many, particularly in developing countries, still lack the necessary resources and capacity. The increasing frequency and severity of disasters is further straining these capacities. 
  8. Investments required to recover and time taken to recover from disasters - The cost of recovering from disasters can be enormous. According to the World Bank, disasters cost the global economy approximately $520 billion per year, and force some 26 million people into poverty annually. The time taken to recover can also be lengthy, with some communities taking years or even decades to fully rebuild and recover. However, investing in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation can significantly reduce these costs and recovery times. 

Overall, while disaster risk management is becoming more challenging due to climate change, there are also opportunities for progress. By integrating climate change considerations into disaster risk management, and by investing in resilience and adaptation, it is possible to reduce the risk and impact of disasters.


What is the latest report on climate change 2023?

The most recent report on climate change, as of May 2023, is published by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The report is an urgent warning about the rapidly escalating impacts of global warming. It predicts that global temperatures are set to reach new record highs in the next five years, accelerating at a pace faster than anticipated. It is a stark revelation about the impending climate crisis and highlights the need for immediate and drastic action.

The WMO report underlines the dire consequences of these escalating temperatures. It forecasts an increase in heatwaves, droughts, and extreme weather events. Sea levels are also predicted to rise significantly, leading to the potential displacement of millions of people in coastal and low-lying regions. Furthermore, the impact on biodiversity could be devastating, with potential mass extinction of species that are unable to adapt to the rapidly changing conditions.

This report is an urgent call to action for governments, organizations, and individuals worldwide. It emphasizes the importance of adhering to the goals set out in the Paris Agreement and increasing efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. It also underscores the need for enhancing adaptation and resilience measures to the impacts of climate change that are already happening.


What is the sustainability trend in 2023?

In 2023, sustainability trends are continuing to shape and influence the corporate world, public policy, and individual behaviors. Contrary to the assertion of a reduction in importance, sustainability as a priority has in fact intensified over the last three years, due to growing awareness of the urgent need to address climate change and other environmental challenges. Here are the key aspects of the current trends:

  1. Difficulty in Measurement and Attribution: While there is a broad consensus on the need for sustainability, measuring its impact remains a challenge. This is due to a variety of reasons, including the complex interplay of various environmental, social, and economic factors, and the lack of standardized methodologies and indicators for measuring sustainability. Additionally, it's difficult to directly attribute changes in environmental conditions to specific sustainability initiatives.
  2. Adoption of Scope 1, 2 and 3 Measurements: More organizations are embracing Scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions measurements. Scope 1 covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources. Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy. Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company's value chain. However, the extent of measurement varies, with some organizations going in-depth while others may only be scratching the surface, due to the complex nature of Scope 3 emissions.
  3. Tech Issues and Sustainability: There's a growing recognition that addressing tech issues is not only essential for improving operational efficiency but also for advancing sustainability goals. For example, improving energy efficiency and reducing e-waste are seen as critical steps towards a more sustainable future. However, it should be noted that tech issues and sustainability are not mutually exclusive, and progress on one front often helps advance the other.
  4. Increased Demand for Sustainable Products: Consumers are increasingly demanding more sustainable products and services. Companies are responding to this demand by offering products with lower environmental footprints, such as plant-based food options and reusable packing options.

Despite the challenges in measurement and attribution, the trend towards sustainability is gaining momentum in 2023. It's driven by growing public awareness, increased corporate responsibility, and policy initiatives. The integration of technology and sustainability is seen as a crucial part of this process.


What is the IPCC report 2023 carbon capture?

The 2023 IPCC report underscores the urgency and importance of carbon capture in mitigating the effects of climate change.

Current Situation and Challenges

The report states, "Currently, the cost and energy requirements of carbon capture are significant barriers to its large-scale deployment." It highlights the current issues with carbon capture technology, namely its high cost and the large amount of energy it requires. These factors make it difficult for carbon capture to be deployed on a large scale, which is crucial if we are to significantly reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The Path Forward

The IPCC report, however, does provide a path forward. It asserts, "Rapid research, development, and innovation could reduce these barriers." This stresses the need for intense focus on research, development, and innovation in the field of carbon capture. By doing so, it may be possible to overcome the barriers that currently limit the technology's deployment. The report highlights the potential of carbon capture as a solution, but it insists that swift and decisive action is required. It calls for a concerted global effort to make carbon capture technology more affordable and efficient.


What are the top 5 factors affecting climate change redressal?

Climate change redressal is affected by numerous interlocking factors. The following are the top five factors that have significant implications:

  1. Political Will: The priorities of the US government and other influential nations play a vital role in climate change redressal. In the U.S., the Biden administration has prioritized climate change as a national security issue and reinstated the U.S.'s commitment to the Paris Agreement. However, climate change policies can be hampered by a lack of bipartisan support and changes in administration.
  2. Political Compulsions and Divided Opinions: Public opinion and political compulsions also significantly affect climate change action. For instance, there's a stark divide in opinions on climate change along partisan lines, which often complicates decision-making and the passing of substantial legislation. This can slow down the pace of implementation of much-needed climate change policies.
  3. Economic Considerations: Climate change mitigation measures often involve significant economic costs, which can be a deterrent, particularly for developing economies. For instance, transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources requires substantial initial investment, which can be a hurdle for many countries. Set of influencing factors include huge energy demands and economic compulsions which many times are considered factors for making more investments in coal powered or other sources of energy traditionally known or considered as more polluting.
  4. Setbacks due to Adverse Policies: Some recent setbacks include increased Amazon deforestation under Brazil's current government, new investments in coal power plants in some Asian countries, and delays in setting ambitious targets for net-zero emissions in various parts of the world. These adverse policies contribute significantly to global warming and hinder global efforts to mitigate climate change.
  5. Global Cooperation: Climate change is a global issue and requires international cooperation for effective redressal. However, differing national interests and capacities can often make this cooperation challenging. The inability of countries to agree on common goals and equitable distribution of responsibilities can slow down global efforts to combat climate change.

Overall, while there is growing recognition of the need for urgent action on climate change, various political, economic, and social factors can influence the pace and effectiveness of these actions.


What are the 3 biggest contributors to climate change?

Climate change is a complex global issue, and it's influenced by multiple factors. The most significant contributors come from certain industries, countries, and policy decisions that have failed to adequately address the crisis.

Top 3 Industries

  1. Energy Production: The energy production sector, especially the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas for electricity and heat, is the largest single source of global greenhouse gas emissions. This sector contributes over 70% of total global emissions.
  2. Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use (AFOLU): This sector, responsible for nearly 24% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, includes a complex set of activities including deforestation, soil degradation, and the raising of livestock which produces methane.
  3. Industrial Processes: This category includes the emission of greenhouse gases during the manufacturing of goods in industrial facilities. It also covers emissions from chemical reactions necessary to produce goods from raw materials.

Top 3 Countries:

  1. China: As of the latest data, China is the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, accounting for about 28% of global emissions. The country's rapid industrial growth, reliance on coal power, and large population significantly contribute to this high level of emissions.
  2. United States: The U.S., historically the largest emitter, currently ranks second, producing around 15% of global emissions. The key sources are energy production and transportation sectors.
  3. India: India, the third-largest emitter, contributes about 7% of global emissions. Its emissions are primarily due to energy production, industrial processes, and agricultural practices.

Top 3 Investment or Policy Rollbacks:

  1. U.S. Environmental Regulation Rollbacks: During the Trump administration, over 100 environmental regulations were rolled back or weakened, covering everything from emissions from cars and trucks, to methane leaks, to light bulb efficiency standards.
  2. Brazil's Amazon Policies: Under President Jair Bolsonaro's administration, deforestation in the Amazon rainforest has significantly increased due to policies favoring development over conservation. This not only releases substantial amounts of carbon, but also destroys a major carbon sink.
  3. Fossil Fuel Subsidies: Despite the urgent need to transition to a low-carbon economy, governments worldwide still subsidize fossil fuel industries to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars annually, perpetuating the profitability and use of these high-emission energy sources.

Role of Tech in reducing climate change impact

Technology plays a crucial role in reducing the impact of climate change by enabling us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, and develop more sustainable systems. Here's how:

  1. Investment by Tech Giants: Major technology companies like Google and Microsoft have invested heavily in sustainability initiatives. Google, for instance, has been carbon neutral since 2007 and is working towards operating on 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030. Microsoft, on the other hand, has pledged to be carbon negative by 2030 and to remove all the carbon it has emitted since its inception by 2050.
  2. Investment by Countries/Regions: Many countries and regions are investing in technologies to combat climate change. The US and Canada have extensive programs supporting renewable energy and carbon capture technologies. Sweden is investing in smart grids and electric transport. The Middle East, despite being a major oil-producing region, is also investing in renewable energy, particularly solar power. India is pushing for solar power and energy efficiency technologies.
  3. Improvements in GHG Emissions Measurement: Technology has significantly improved our ability to measure GHG emissions. Satellite technology, IoT devices, and AI algorithms have made it possible to accurately measure emissions at their source and even predict future emission trends.
  4. Improvement in Predictive Models: Advanced computational models and AI are now able to predict the impacts of climate change with increasing precision, aiding in mitigation and adaptation strategies. These predictive models are crucial in understanding where to focus mitigation efforts and how to plan for future climate scenarios.
  5. Identification of Inefficiencies: Technology also plays a significant role in identifying inefficiencies in systems that lead to unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions. For example, AI can optimize logistics routes to reduce fuel use, smart grids can better manage energy use to reduce waste, and data analysis can uncover energy inefficiencies in building design.


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