Monday, 6 April 2009

EU - Adapting to a changed climate

The EU has taken on board recent research that suggests that climate change will strike harder and faster than previously thought and the European Commission is proposing that EU member countries start to think now about how to adapt. “We must continue to work hard to reduce carbon emissions, but we must also adapt to the reality of climate change. There is no doubt that despite what is achieved, some amount of climate change is inevitable and irreversible," said the EU’s environment commissioner, Stavros Dimas.

Details are here, but below is a diagram showing w
hat the EC sees as the chain of potential impacts from climate change. (It is from the DG Environment, based on based on (EEA, 2008) and (IPCC, 2007). Potential impacts are all impacts that may occur given a projected change in climate, without considering adaptation).



The commission has come up with a set of proposals including studies to increase understanding of climate change, strategies to better manage resources, an assessment of the costs and benefits of adapting to climate change and tools to monitor how the changing environment affects health. The proposal also outlines plans for a ‘clearing house mechanism’ to be set up by 2011 – a vast database for exchanging information on climate change risks and impacts and the most effective ways to respond.

This is the less talked about aspect of global warming, mainly because there is an understandable reluctance to face up to the situation we are in. Climate change is happening and will have a serious impact on people, societies and economies.

Businesses will face challenges, many of which IT, which has a history of adapting to security and business continuity challenges, is well-placed to address. There is a distinct role for ICT companies in being educators and evangelists around the impact of climate change, providing information and solutions to businesses to help mitigate the impact. It is not an issue yet, but will be. Those IT companies that address the issue head on will help educate the market (about the need to address the causes of climate change as well as the impact) and will be well positioned to assist companies in preparing for the worst.


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