Government

Financing Adaptation: The White House and The Global Adaptation & Resilience Work Group Exchange Ideas

At a White House roundtable on resilience investment with the Global Adaptation and Resilience work group and the Council on Environmental Quality last month, experts from government and the financial sector debated what the financial products are that will help people plan for the long term.

An optimistic bunch, there was general consensus that incentives are lining up – climate adaptation is smart business.

But do finance and policy advisors have the information they need to make decisions in the long-term interests of their shareholders and the public?

Three key questions emerged from the conversation, along with several sub issues: 

First, are there maps of climate risk to analyze, adaptation tools that resolve climate risk, and a known set of adaptation projects to use as best practice and to seed the resilience investment pipeline? Several insurance leaders noted that there are existing vectors of risk that the industry uses that are helpful for pricing climate risk. 

At the same time, part of making the environment for investment stable is having a clear awareness of the measure of progress the investment will cause. An initial step is to “weatherize data” showing what the impact of weather is on parts of the economy.  With these short term impacts explained, then it is important to build measurement models to extrapolate into the future.  The customization of predictive risk data is the next frontier in adaptation investments. 

These tools will be most useful when delivered along with narratives about best practice.  Several finance-industry adaptation project examples were shared, including a Nature Conservancy project that is allowing the Government of the Seychelles to swap some of its debt for climate adaptation projects and a Swiss Re project offering small holder crop insurance against drought and floods in Ethiopia.

Second, should the investment industry be focused just on increasing resilient investments – that is investments focused on adaptation projects – or should they also care about increasing the resilience of projects, that is the multi-trillion dollars of investments funded globally?  The focus of these investment leaders was generally on the latter.

Especially since insurance experts use a back-of-the-envelope calculation that basic productivity for a business needs to be restored within 2 weeks (as long as a typical business can stay afloat with no revenue) and full productivity in three months (which is tied to a timeline of when insurance pays for unrecoverable losses), it seems the resilience of all projects is imperative for the markets.  Understanding the local context of the physical changes caused by climate change for market sectors is complex, and private sector leaders are focused not just on the physical risks from climate changes, but also the social risks to their workforce and markets. These human factors are often related not just to the company, but also the communities within which they do business.  Thus, resilience is today’s problem of the commons. Of course, another major insurance issue is that only about 30% of extreme risk loss is insured around the world. 

Third, what is the roles for the US Government in increasing the finance industry’s engagement with resilience?  While it was acknowledged that resilience is generally a shareholder issue, (vs. national security which is a government issue), and the private sector owns and operate a significant majority of infrastructure in the world, it was agreed there is a significant role for government. For instance, participants recommended that climate science risk be baked into codes and standards to motivate the private sector, since the general rule of thumb is that one dollar spent in risk mitigation saves four dollars in the future on recovery.

But the major issue is that the US government is the insurer of last resort, based on the Stafford Act, allowing developers to operate with the knowledge that if you invest now without paying any premium for future risk mitigation, the federal government (in the form of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency) will ultimately pay for damages incurred that are beyond the capacity of the private insurance market. Repealing the Stafford Act would transform the industry’s viewpoint on climate risk. 

Another recommendation for the government was to promulgate and enforce disclosure requirements for both acute and chronic types of risks.  Tax incentives or rebates could help ensure compliance with a Securities and Exchange Commission asset level climate risk disclosure.  Ultimately, the group agreed that the private sector takes on risks that it wants to take on, designing, building and repairing – all crucial to resilience.  But the private sector is not going to choose to invest in  what they cannot control - regulatory change. 

This is a crucial role for the US Government. Finance leaders will always innovate to get the most out of the market, and policy leaders can help make sure these decisions are in the long-term interests of the public with regulatory innovation.

Buffering Against Climate Risk: Lessons for the Refugee Crisis

This blog was initially published by our partner, the RANE network:  https://www.ranenetwork.com/rane-blog/buffering-against-climate-risk-lessons-for-the-refugee-crisis/ As the world watches countless economic migrants and war refugees journey perilously from their volatile homelands to relatively stable countries that respond with tactics as varied as their histories, two overarching questions arise: How did we arrive at this stage of human suffering? And what can we do to avoid it from occurring again?

I think it is worth examining why some countries withstand stress while others don’t. In my work with the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index, I focus on how countries adapt to the stresses and shocks of climate change. I think there are valuable lessons from this examination of climate risks to help explain why some countries are buffered from creating refuges when times get tough.

In ND-GAIN’s country index, we identify those countries that have significantly improved their economic, social or governance components (which we examine as a way to understand a country’s readiness to take on adaptation investment) and have decreased their climate vulnerability over the past two decades

There is a unique set of 10 countries who have decreased their vulnerability and increased their readiness more over the last 20 years.

While this set of countries seem more diverse than similar – different locations, government type, history and economic systems, these countries share common features, and one in particular stands out from the 46 indicators ND-GAIN examines: political stability. It turns out that the stability afforded by good governance in the form of political stability may buffering them from stress turning to crisis in the case of both climate risk and emigration.

It is interesting to examine the diversity in these countries’ approach to gaining political stability. The countries can be categorized into three groups: those who improved, those who worsened but then rebuilt and those who remained mostly unchanged.

In the first group are Rwanda, Angola, Georgia and Turkey. Each has improved its political stability since 1995. Rwanda and Angola, for instance, have made significant peacekeeping strides from their violent past of civil wars and genocides. Human rights have improved there, too.

The group of countries whose political stability worsened but then rebounded includes Saudi Arabia, Belarus and Oman. Saudi Arabia’s leader suffered a stroke, which led to an odd period of leadership. The war in Iraq and al-Qaeda’s presence in the region also affected it and led to decreased political stability. Since, however, the Saudi government has retained some of its lost political stability, which helps it prepare for climate change.

Oman also suffered from events in Iraq but made great progress since in its elections and freedoms. Belarus, which gained independence in 1991 from the Soviet Union but then endured abusive authoritarian rule, regained political stability after its people protested.

Those countries that remained mostly politically stable in the past 20 years include Uruguay, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates. While they experienced quite a bit of change during this period, they dealt with it within their current political system, and this has led to their success in climate change preparedness.

As Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin notes, “… it’s what doesn’t happen that proves success. When disruptions do not become disasters, we’ve won. When a community is resilient and stays strong in the face of a crisis, (we) mark a victory.”

These 10 countries, then, may well hold lessons to today’s heart-breaking emigration from Syria and elsewhere. In the 10, we see political stability as a buffer to the shocks and stresses of climate change — and perhaps as well to the tragedy of exodus from them.

 

Countries whose vulnerability to climate change, other global challenges decreased while readiness to improve resilience improved. (Top 10 out of 182)

Country ND-GAIN Country Index Score Improvement 1995-2013
United Arab Emirates 16.06
Saudi Arabia 13.98
Turkey 12.56
Rwanda 12.24
Oman 12.04
Georgia 11.23
Mauritius 11.11
Angola 10.85
Uruguay 10.65
Belarus 10.56

 

Joyce Coffee is managing director of the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN). 

Brazil drought – the Readiness Prophylactic

   

The bottom of the ND-GAIN Index when ranked by the water sector

Last month, Sao Paolo’s epic drought made headlines around the world, not simply because that’s strange for a place known colloquially as Terra da Garoa(Land of Drizzle). Ranked by the water sector, Brazil sits at a comfortable 20 in the ND-GAIN index. But officials in that country’s most populous city have worried about water supplies for several years and even wonder if it might cause a riot.

 

In other parts of the world, of course, drought has been oncoming for decades. These are the kind of places that already have progressed beyond riot stage into all-out-war. Simply consider the bottom of the ND-GAIN Index when sorted for water. That Syria lies at the bottom shouldn’t be surprising.

 

Other countries – Sudan and Pakistan, for instance – aren’t too surprising either because water shortages have sparked popular discontent. In their cases, droughts in agricultural lands have spurred rural migrations to their cities. Some suggest this contributes to fomenting volatile civil discontent.

I am particularly interested in why those countries that share a low berth on the ND-GAIN rankings seem relatively conflict-free. For instance, comparing the trajectory of Jordan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to that of Syria, Sudan and Pakistan, the suggestion arises that improving governance, social structure and economic opportunity in countries could prove to be a prophylactic to water-scarcity driven civil conflict.

 

That possibility makes me hopeful for countries such as Brazil, whose readiness also has increased over time.   On the graph below, Brazil’s curve resembles a giraffe, just like that of Jordan. So while its readiness rank is 111 in the ND-GAIN Country Index vs. Jordan’s 82, Brazil may be able to increase its resilience to drought and, thus, quell any potential water-scarcity driven unrest.   It appears that it might start is in the social sector.

chart (20)chart (21)

Increasing Water Security: Enlivening Communities in Africa and Asia

More frequent and severe droughts triggered by climate change place significant stress on the regions of the globe already most arid. That’s why South Pole Carbon and HSBC India, in partnership with JBF, are working to empower and bring purified water to locals in Africa and Asia. These two unique projects were entered in our 2014 Corporate Adaptation Prize Contest. South Pole Carbon

South Pole Carbon’s International Water Purification Programme (IWPP) facilitates investments in clean drinking water to boost both climate-change mitigation and adaptation:

  1. South Pole Carbon provides poor families with a reliable source of clean drinking water, thus enabling individuals and communities to become more resilient against climate change.
  2. It reduces CO2 emissions by ensuring people don’t have to boil their drinking water.

South Pole offers companies the opportunity to invest in individual projects under the IWPP and to generate adaptation and mitigation benefits, measured in liters of clean drinking water provided and in tons of CO2 reduced, respectively. Under the IWPP, companies can achieve their Corporate Social Responsibility targets while gaining measurable benefits.

Here are the scores and trends of South Pole’s target countries, according to the 2012 ND-Global Adaptation Index:

  • Mexico: 59 (trend: stable)
  • Cambodia: 133 (trend: improving)
  • Uganda: 137 (trend: stable)
  • Malawi: 136 (trend: improving)
  • Tanzania: 140 (trend: improving)
  • Kenya: 153 (trend: stable)

South Pole Carbon Water

Source: South Pole Carbon 

HSBC India & the Jal Bhagirathi Foundation

In conjunction with Jal Bhagirathi Foundation (JBF) in India, Hongkong and Shanghai Bank Corporation (HSBC) builds community leadership and leverages innovations to contribute to climate-change adaptation success through potable water harvesting projects in India. As a global commercial bank, HSBC has executed three community-based adaptation projects in Rajasthan’s Marwar region—the world’s most densely populated arid zone. JBF is a nongovernment organization that has been working in the Marwar region of the Thar Desert in Western India since 2002.

Since 2009, the partnership has built on traditional local knowledge and contemporary social and technical innovations to develop, test and replicate adaptive strategies through management of natural resources, especially water.

HSBC India

Source: HSBC India

India ranked 120th on the 2012 ND-Global Adaptation Index with a score of 53.4. Its high vulnerability score and low readiness score makes it the 55th most vulnerable country and the 60th least-ready country. Its advancement by 10 points on the relative ranking since 1999 indicates the impact that corporate investment can make on resilience.

HSBC and JBF seek to improve the adaptive capacity and resilience of local communities:

  1. Available potable water year round through localized water harvesting and landscape management enlivens communities.
  2. Women who earlier fetched water from long distances in extreme desert conditions are saved from the physical stress, and they can use the saved time and energy for children’s education and development and economic activities that increase family income.
  3. Accessible toilets and safe sanitation facilities prevent fecal contamination of scarce water and improve public health, hygiene and environmental conditions.

Key variables are being tracked, including the increased availability of drinking water, the extent of sanitation and the impact on women’s time. On average, each village achieves a 30 percent improvement in water availability annually, translating into an additional 4-to-5 months of water availability per year. The extent of sanitation has increased to 50-to-70 percent from 6-to-25 percent since 2009. This adds 2-to-3 hours of productive activities for the average woman.

Consequently, HSBC and JBF generate an array of benefits to its communities in India:

  1. Health improvement through access to safe water and sanitation
  2. Women empowerment
  3. Education and child development
  4. Livelihood security
  5. Environmental sustainability

Because the integrated village-models are replicable and scalable in line with India’s national water policy framework, HSBC plans to expand its project in the Marwar region to other water-stressed regions in India, through collaboration among its NGO partners.

Visit the Jal Bhagirathi Foundation website for more of the partnership’s projects in India.

This information was compiled with the help of Sophia Chau, Intern, ND-Global Adaptation Index.

China's Role in Adaptation?

This infographic in Fast Company got me thinking:  Is China the answer to African resilience? final version use africa

Anyone worried about climate change would be agog at what this map says:  That Africa (including, it looks like, even the African Sahel, based on the arrow) will be China’s breadbasket!  But other maps of Africa, suggest this might be a fantasy ND-GAIN’s data (as well as that of e.g. Maplecroft) suggest that Africa is vulnerable, including and especially in its food sector.

map

But what if African economic development changed these risk maps?  Then, could we see the sort of hope illustrated in that fantastic Fast Company arrow?

GAIN identifies two types of countries vulnerable to climate change – those ready for investment (due to their economic, social and governance perspectives) and those that are not.  My audience often asks me, how will those countries unready for adaptation investments become less vulnerable?  China, seemingly, is providing that answer.

The Economist reported on the Centre for China & Globalization and National Bureau of Statistics numbers, which showed that China’s direct investment flows are edging toward a slight majority of outflows this year, with around $130B in outflows and about $120B in inflows projected, and Africa is one recipient of that outbound investment. The story we know well is that state-owned enterprises are searching for resources in Africa.  And mining is a part of this story.   But private Chinese firms also are pioneering in the African marketplace, as Peter Orzag explains in Bloomberg.

Earlier this year, Reuters reported that China will extend over $12B in aid to Africa in future years.

Earlier this month, as China’s leader wrapped up a premier tour of strong handshakes and lavish gift-giving around the Pacific following on APEC, I grew hopeful that China turns from a BRIC into a brick-builder that helps African countries and other emerging economies continue to build the foundation of their resiliency.

Adaptation Potential: Africa's Hope and Promise

Adaptation Potential: Africa’s Hope and Promise Hope for building communities resilient to climate change around the world emerges from the unlikeliest of places—Africa. Shortly after release of the ND-GAIN 2014 Index, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Professor at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, Calestous Juma, maintained that rankings alone fail to account for novel technological opportunities that communities not yet locked into conventional frameworks may readily adopt.

Focusing only on the rankings, Juma added in a CNN opinion editorial, risks sowing “despair among the poor and complacency among the rich.” He believes that developing countries have much cause for hope and that we must not ignore a poor nation’s creativity in the fight against climate change.

As evidence of Africa’s potential for generating responses to issues unique in our time, Juma cited the successful Sahalian drought response borne out of local collaboration as well as the mobile money-transfer initiative in Kenya. Most striking is the work of women engineers in controlling traffic through the use of robot technology in the CRD, a country ranked 5th from rock bottom of 178 countries on the ND-GAIN Index.

This hope and promise are reflected in ND-GAIN’s Readiness Matrix. Nestled in Africa are many of the world’s most vulnerable and least-prepared countries, but they each have made substantial progress in readiness to accept adaptation investment. These countries include Guinea, Laos, Liberia, Sao Tome & Principe, Zimbabwe and, most remarkably, Rwanda, which --has progressed entirely out of the red zone. The message is clear: the time is ripe for adaptation investment. In the coming years, African countries likely will emerge as leaders in the climate adaptation scene as investment continues to grow.

Infographic

In particular, alternative energy holds much promise in Africa. Although many parts of the continent receive abundant insolation – the amount of solar radiation energy received on a given surface area during a given time – and constant winds, alternative energy investment and development still are in their infancy. Limited information access and poor local training further hinder technological leaps, contends Juma.

MozambiqueThe team in Mozambique.

Collaborations between foreign and local agencies can bridge this gap. For instance, ND-GAIN, the Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD) and the Universidade Católica de Moçambique (UCM) teamed up to assess the impacts of early-warning systems for climate-related disasters in Mozambique. They evaluated the impacts of Community-based Disaster Management Committees (CLGRCs) and early-warning systems to show what and how interventions lead to increased climate resilience.

Moving forward, it is crucial that we understand the extent of Africa’s adaptation potential and also facilitate its adaptation efforts.  Africa likely will hold solutions to the 21st century’s most pressing problems.

Blog compiled with help from Sophia Chau, Intern, ND-GAIN 

Unsung Heroes – Government Statisticians Who Need the Space to Be Honest

At a Social Capital Markets SOCAP 2014 panel in San Francisco in Fall 2014 about Resilience Investing Informed by Global Data I had the pleasure of presenting with Dr. Mirza Jahani, the CEO of the Aga Khan Development Network’s U.S. foundation.  The panel focused on data and the particular issue dealt with how to spend less money gathering data and more money using it to achieve better outcomes. SOCAP-14-Logo-1Dr. Jahani’s response – consider government statisticians – made me realize we may be looking at the solution right under the world’s green eye shade. Government statistics bureaus around the world offer treasure troves of both fine statistician and copious amounts of data (much of it on paper – the topic of a future post). These number crunchers know the issues confronting their countries intimately, both quantitatively and qualitatively, from their life experience and work. But they lack the resources to make those data transparent.

As many know, I’m a big proponent of free and open-source data.  But, perhaps I need to shift my emphasis. What if these government statisticians could say what actually was happening in their respective countries and share the data they have gathered directly and without intervention (regardless of the inference the world would draw from it)?    The prevailing belief is that many government statistics are suspect, because some countries lack capacity to gather or verify data and/or countries want to appear better (or sometimes worse) than they are for political or investment purposes.

If they possessed the clout so they could be honest with government data, we users could even say, “This data isn’t bad; let’s use it.” This would save implementers in every sector valuable time and money they can apply to their work on the ground.

From Dhaka Bangladesh to Kathmandu Nepal, from Chicago, USA to Aberdeen, UK, cities have opened up their data to the world, and even inspired titles for appointed posts. Consider “Chief Innovation Officer.” As a result, these enlightened governments gain the reward of better decisions made from better data and also reap a reputational boost for their transparency from citizens, other cities, and businesses and other institutions.

More governments should take a page from this book on how to manage a reputable statistics bureau. They then would empower their statisticians and data miners to give the world their most powerful currency: data.

Index Inquisition, Incursions, Insides, Insights

Earlier this month, the Economist warned about the vagaries of Index.  I’ve written about this, too.  And I agree we must be careful about reading too much into Index.  But, as a journalist who interviewed me recently pointed out, “Journalists love them,” and in the Economist’s case, that seems to be true. Following on its November 8 article, the Economist’s next issue carried an article on sexual harassment in Canada and referenced the World Economic Forum’s rankings of countries by gender inequality. In yet another article about growing globalization, the author cited the DHL Global Connectedness Index.  I’m an eager consumer of the Economist and, in each issue, I run across about two index references (not to mention the favorite worldwide index:  The Economists’ Own Big Mac index).

I’m proud to say that ND-GAIN gets it right, according to the Economists’ 1, 2, 3 guide to better international country rankings: We don’t tweak the weightings to suit, don’t substitute data when a country is lacking it, and use only data globally available, national in scope and verifiable. We publish our full methodology (and all of our data and framework too) free and open to the public.  We raise caveats and describe our choices in this document.  We agonized for 18 months over what to put in our index and sought our indicators from the literature and from experts in the field.

With ND-GAIN, we are eager to catch people’s attention and make information easy to process.  The Economist notes that “ratings and rankings can be powerful tools of both branding and influence.” They can help shape new policy.

We’ve just released the 2014 version of the Index and have made improvements, such as opting for

  • Consistent terminology in vulnerability sectors so that a single definition of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity applies across all sectors.
  • Distinction among sectors and vulnerability components to minimize conceptual overlap within the Index; e.g., the combination of energy and coastal infrastructure under a single infrastructure sector.
  • More flexibility for downscaling portions of the Index to allow integration with Geographic Information Systems.
  • Equal weighting between all sectors (vulnerability) and components (readiness).
  • Responsive to user feedback in adjustments to indicators of economic readiness.

We’ve also made it easier for those Economist journalists (and others!) to use:

ND-GAIN’s web-portal. It now includes new computational tools to facilitate ease of use, to allow more data visualization and to enable tracking individual indicators and country grouping, including the:

  • Ability to visualize each indicator, sector and area on line graphs and spider graphs.
  • Ability to graphically compare indicators, sectors and areas of two nations or groups of nations.

Capability to download all indicators, sector scores, and ND-GAIN scores.

Another Season of Climate Risk Looms: Southeast Asian Coastal Storms

As the global hurricane and typhoon season begins, a critically important gathering of the World Economic Forum on East Africa has just concluded in Manila, with nearly every session expounding on the tragic consequences and lessons learned from last year's Typhoon Haiyan.

Decision makers from the private, financial, and public and development communities committed to instilling more resilient measures in responding to and handling disasters. They expect to shape regional and industry agendas by addressing Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, opportunities for mitigating resource risks and vulnerabilities tied to climate change.

Among other issues, participants found common ground on such areas as climate smart growth, decision-making in a disruptive world, green and climate-resilient investments that encompass public-private resiliency funds for disaster-prone areas, solutions for climate and resource risks and enhancements of risk awareness and management.

In deliberating, participants considered some of the learnings from Hurricane Katrina, the devastating disaster that struck the Gulf region of the United States nine years ago this August. Its impact on the southeast region persists.

For one specific company, New Orleans' electric utility Entergy Corp., the hurricane caused an estimated $750 million and $1.1 billion in damages, according to an Entergy U.S. Senate testimony. It also galvanized the integrated energy company to transform itself into a true climate-resiliency leader.

Fortunately, the utility possessed a well-rehearsed emergency-response plan that included safety performance drills, a disaster-recovery plan, communications continuity using satellite phones during repairs, and swift internal infrastructure restoration. A learning organization, Entergy adopted lessons from Katrina and responded proactively to Hurricane Rita the very next month. It shut down various operations and reduced staff to keep more employees out of harm's way.

Entergy, of course, serves the Gulf region and can't just get up and move. Since Katrina and Rita, it has invested in wetlands restoration and other community assets to shore up resiliency. As for community resiliency, Entergy ensures a consistent supply of power.

An Example for Others

Entergy's story offers a great example to companies worldwide at risk from coastal storms. What does that risk look like?

In its latest stark report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change describes significant and worsening environmental risks to the world's poorer countries. And with rising seas, increasing storm intensity and population shifts to cities at the shore, the future promises to be truly tough for millions upon millions of people worldwide.

By increasing risks to human health, welfare, and ecosystems, climate impacts can threaten primary development goals -- reducing poverty, increasing access to education, improving child health, combating disease and managing natural resources sustainably.

The coastal areas, of course, are on the front lines. As tropical cyclone season arrives (and keeps us riveted to the news, worried about frequent tragedies) and continues through November, one startling fact relays their impact. Since 2005, in Southeast Asia alone, more than 172,500 people have lost their lives to tropical cyclones, and economic losses from them exceed more than $122 billion (in 2014 dollars), according to data from Aon Benfield Impact Forecasting.

Southeast Asia at Particular Risk

Of course, the ASEAN region is at particular risk since a disproportionate percentage of the population lives within five meters of sea level, according to the Center for International Earth Science Information Network, or CIESIN. With the exception of Laos, ASEAN countries possess more coastal area -- the percent of land less than 10 meters above sea level -- than 80 percent of the rest of the world's countries. And, again with the exception of Laos, ASEAN countries have more coastal population than 85 percent of the rest of the world.

November's deadly typhoon that leveled Tacloban, the Philippines, is likely to be repeated as coastal storms grow in populated areas in these low-lying coastal zones. Some ASEAN countries are less vulnerable and more prepared than others to adapt to these changes.

ND-GAIN, the world's leading index of country-level climate adaptation, ranks nine of the 10 ASEAN countries (Brunei Darsulum doesn't share enough data to be included in the Index.) From Singapore, at 30th on the Index to Myanmar at 163rd, major variations exist in both vulnerability and readiness to adapt throughout the region. The ND-GAIN data indicates that all of the countries are trending up or are stable. Each could set clear priorities for improvement, including:

1. Improving the quality of trade and transport infrastructure.* 2. Establishing good early-warning systems. 3. Adopting building codes that reflect tropical cyclone threats. 4. Implementing insurance mechanism and financing facilities that recognize these threats. 5. Protecting natural capital such as wetlands along the Gulf Coast, sand dunes around New York City and coastal mangrove swamps in Thailand to cushion coasts from storm surges. 6. Increasing the percentage of paved roads. 7. Establishing redundancies in communication infrastructure. 8. Engaging with stakeholders from other sectors and determining who is active in protecting people, natural resources and infrastructure? Being proactive in seeking allies with similar assets at stake who also want to assist, and offering to engage with them.

This year, nature will make its increasingly destructive annual pass around the globe with its litany of tragic tropical cyclones, monsoons, forest fires and the like. However, each offers valuable lessons that we must recognize and learn from -- for our sake and that of future generations. A great deal is at stake.

Some cities and countries will face economic decline as corporations and others shift their valuable supply chains away from weather-threatened regions. Very simply, climate change rates among the key challenges that developing countries must recognize and respond to in planning for their futures.

*Note: According to the Trade and Transport Infrastructure: Logistics professionals' perception of country's quality of trade- and transport-related infrastructure (e.g., ports, railroads, roads, information technology), from the World Bank's World Development Indicators.

(This blog originally appeared on Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joyce-coffee/another-season-of-climate_b_5419755.html)