This page provides commentary and links to interesting issues associated with climate change adaptation.  Please feel free to share and comment. Reposting original information from Climate Planning is encouraged as long as you provide the author's a name and a link back to the site.

Climate Change and the Private Sector: Adaptation & Management

The management of climate change risk is transitioning. It is no longer just an environmental “green” issue, but one which is associated with both opportunities and constraints of growth. The sample of messages presented below, shows that an appreciation of the risk that climate change poses to economies and businesses, has rapidly extended beyond the dominion of commentators and those “on the periphery”, to one that is clearly gaining ground within the financial mainstream. 

Click on the image to download

Click on the image to download

Key Points in this Report

• Disclosure exposes both good and bad practice: recent proceedings that augur more transparent and comparative disclosure frameworks will promote climate change risk to the near term. 

• With risk comes opportunity: where managed appropriately a reduction in climate change risk can generate significant positive implications for an organisation’s reputation and brand proposition. 

• Climate change adaptation, as a profession, is a speciality that differs from climate change mitigation: both climate change mitigation and adaptation fields are evolving. Whilst there is a very strong overlap, subtle differentiations do exist. 

• An effective adaptation governance framework is key to reducing the risks and exploiting the opportunities that climate change presents. 

• The nature of the messenger has changed: an appreciation of climate change risk to business and economies is rapidly shifting into the financial mainstream. 

• Climate risk is multi-faceted: impacts extend well beyond direct physical degradation to create cascading implications at all societal levels. 

• Climate change risk extends to the full value chain: physical risks in particular extend beyond direct operations to an organisation’s supply chain and markets. 

• Transition risk is current: consumption and governance changes as society transitions from a fossil fuel economy represent immediate risks and opportunities for all businesses. 

• Legal risk is an incentive to act: legal risk, implicit in actions and inactions to address climate change, travels behind the corporate veil to directors and boards. 

Summary of the Illinois Farmers Class Action Against Local Government

Author: Tanya Sinha

Author: Tanya Sinha

This Climate Planning Summary Paper provides a snapshot of a recent climate change-related class action filed by an insurer in the US against approximately 100 cities, villages and townships in the greater Chicago region (Cook County). The plaintiff seeks compensatory damages for negligent maintenance, failure to remedy known dangerous conditions, and illegal seizure of private property. This action highlights the potential cascading risks associated with climate change and serves as a wake-up call for all local governments and those who insure them.

To download a succinct summary of this interesting class action please click on the image or here


US National Climate Assessment Released

The third National Climate Assessment was released today and is more that just a visually stunning website (created by Forum One Communications).  It contains a frank and transparent look at how climate change is affecting the US and presents scientifically robust projections out into the future.

In the video below 'Dr. John Holdren, President Obama's Science Advisor, introduces the National Climate Assessment and discusses President Obama's climate action plan which takes an all of the above energy approach towards combatting climate change now'



Climate change class action filed by insurers against cities in Chicago region

A recently filed lawsuit headed by Illinois Farmers Insurance Company against municipalities in Cook County, Illinois, should act as a serious wake up for local governments ignoring their management of climate change.  The lawsuit, Illinois Farmers Insurance Company and Farmers Insurance Exchange v The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago sees the insurer and all of its subsidiaries filling a request for a class action and jury trial against approximately 100 cities, villages and townships in the Cook County region (including the City of Chicago).

The legal action is based on a heavy rainfall event in the region on the 17th and 18th of April 2013. The Plaintiffs state that the Defendants, amongst other things, failed to “adopt and/or implement policies which would maximize the stormwater storage capacity of its stormwater sewers and sanitary water sewers so as to prevent injury to Members of the Plaintiff' Class” (p.21).

Interestingly the legal action specifically mentions climate change:

…defendant knew or should have known that climate change in Cook County has resulted in greater rain fall volume, greater rainfall intensity and greater rainfall duration than pre1970 rainfall history evidenced, resulting in greater stormwater runoff from a rainfall with Cook County and its Watersheds. (p.20)

This legal action is a very interesting case and is at the very heart of the local government / insurance nexus. Climate Planning will be following and reporting on this case it as it unfolds.  Please click here or on the image to download the action.