Climate Ready? New Urgency for Continuity Planning

In the same week that Cambridge University (UK) predicted the final collapse of Arctic sea ice before 2016, the UK’s Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have announced they’re preparing a major campaign to push organisations to seriously review their climate change adaptation plans.

Do we think DEFRA knows that most businesses don’t actually seem to have any adaptation plans?  Or that half the people we spoke to this week didn’t believe climate change was a ‘real’ issue – even though DEFRA have claimed that 80% of companies have identified the physical climate change risks faced by their organisation?

Let’s review the new information from Cambridge and then look at DEFRA’s new campaign!

According the The Guardian, under the headline “Arctic expert predicts final collapse of sea ice within 4 years“, a global disaster is a foregone conclusion.  Peter Wadhams is Professor  of Ocean Physics for the University of Cambridge‘s Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, an associate professor at Laboratoire d’Oceanographie at Villefranche in France which is run by the Pierre and Marie Cure University.

Wadhams, who has predictions over many years that are consistent with what has actually happened, says that the summer Arctic will become ice-free by 2015-2016.  The impact, he says, will be  a”terrible” acceleration of global warming which will include a huge release of vast quantities of trapped methane.

This correlates with previous reports that the ice sea in the arctic has shrunk to less than half the area it covered 40 years ago when it began shrinking.

Wadhams says we have to think about drastic cuts to human-generated emissions.  But what about our individual companies and organisations – i.e. the areas over which we have influence or control?  For that, in the UK,  DEFRA step in.

DEFRA are about to launch a public campaign that will lead up to the UK’s first official National Climate Change Adaptation Programme.   It’s Climate Ready website will be radically overhauled and it’s helpdesk – already in existence – will be ramped up.

In response to skeptics, a DEFRA chief says we can’t “wait for the science to be perfect.  We know the world is warming but there’s uncertainty around the precise impacts at a local level.  It’s important for people to look at the climate change risks they face now and then develop flexible business plans that give an organisation the opportunity to shift things as climate impacts evolve.

Resources available to you include the following national documents:

You may also download the ultra useful Climate Change Decision Tree diagram that many have found useful for offering their boards a way to make black and white decisions on the way forward for an individual organisation.  Click here or on the graphic below:

climate change for business continuity planners

Of course, climate change is still a matter that many debate.  Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments area below!

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