Climate Adaptation

Vanguard Adaptation Leader: U.S. Department of Defense

The community of adaptation leaders should, indeed must, bolster its essential link with the national security apparatus.  Three reports suggest why:

1.     The Department of Defense has created a Roadmap (2014) with an objective to collaborate with stakeholders, including the adaptation community. Specifically, it says it seeks to promote deliberate collaboration with stakeholders across the Department and with other Federal, State, local, tribal and international agencies and oorganizations in addressing climate change considerations.

The report maintains that climate change “is a long-term trend, but with wise planning and risk mitigation now, we can reduce adverse impacts downrange.”  The authors’ use of the term “downrange” is important. While it’s not necessarily the future, it’s a target that may be farther away and, therefore, requires careful preparation to nail. 

The report concludes: “By taking a proactive, flexible approach to assessment, analysis, and adaptation, the Defense Department will keep pace with a changing climate, minimize its impacts on our missions, and continue to protect our national security.”

2.     In 2015, the DOD released another report on the national implications of climate change that notes the need to adapt military facilities – many located along the coasts and/or in arid environments – and to develop adaptation strategies to diffuse risks in developing countries.

3.     The White House in September released a Statement and a National Security document about integrating climate change into national security. But, in a missed opportunity, the documents do not mention adaptation.

As panel submission deadlines loom for the biannual National Adaptation Forum, I hope its steering committee has invited the DOD to speak at the May 2017 forum.  The Defense Department is at the frontline in its adaptation leadership. We should try to leapfrog one another, helping to inform adaptation strategies for communities of stakeholders and to enhance research to action.




Introducing Climate Adaptation Exchange!

Climate Adaptation Exchange is for people who understand climate change is already happening. It’s for those interested in what this means for the corporate sector and those considering what we can do to adapt to alterations in supply chains, buildings, infrastructure, markets and employees.

As noted in “Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change – America’s Climate Choices – 2010,” “Adaptation is an adjustment in natural or human systems to a new or changing environment that exploits beneficial opportunities or moderates negative ones.” This definition provides the first two of the three reasons I’m writing Climate Adaptation Exchange:

1. It will help companies exploit new business opportunities. 2. It will help companies to avoid negative impact. 3. It will help companies contribute to more resilient communities, so that climate threats will minimally damage social well-being, the economy and the environment.

Companies should engage in climate adaptation not only because money can be made, but because: 1. We’re missing out: if the corporate sector does not begin to engage, it risks being shut out of the climate-adaptation policy decisions emanating from federal, state and local governments. 2. We’re futurists: one big challenge with applying climate-adaptation thinking to any problem is that it’s based on a future we cannot predict. It’s no longer safe to assume the next 20 years are going to look like the past 20. Corporations get that. We’re good at creating opportunities for uncertain futures. 3. Our stakeholders are affected: whether you’re a B2B OR B2C firm, our stakeholders feel the impact of climate change, which will continue to influence their behavior and needs. We need to be ready to serve them - our bottom line depends on taking leadership here.

My blog will discuss questions such as: • What are “no regrets” corporate-climate adaptations? • How can we reap collateral benefits from climate mitigation to enhance climate adaptation? • How can we integrate climate scenarios into existing decision processes, including risk management, business continuity planning and new market realization? • What lessons can we glean from disaster mitigation for climate adaptation? • Can we turn climate-related crisis into opportunity? • What are the basic steps to executing climate-adaptation plans? • In the event of a climate-related crisis that affects your business, who serves as your spokesperson? • What are examples of leading-edge corporate climate adaptation?

Ultimately, I hope this blog helps you to ask and ponder the climate-adaptation question of your work and your teams. How will climate change impact this decision, and what should we do to adapt to exploit business opportunities, decrease risk and contribute to the community?