Recent studies have pointed out the economic costs of rising temperatures, increased sea levels, and extreme weather events — all factors associated with climate change impact in the Southeast United States.
Costs of Doing Nothing: Economic Consequences of Not Adapting to Sea Level Rise in the Hampton Roads Region, a 2016 report from Virginia Coastal Policy Center, College of William & Mary Law School, narrows down the data to the Hampton Roads area. This report looks at several scenarios for sea level rise and the economic consequences.
by Maureen Roskoski, CFM, SFP, LEED AP O+M,
Senior Professional, Corporate Sustainability Officer
Facility Engineering Associates
Business Resilience is the ability to rapidly adapt and respond to business disruptions while maintaining continuous business operations. Business resilience planning provides guidance for ensuring the ability to respond, resume, and restore to a pre-determined level of operation following a disruption. At FEA, we help our clients strive for resilience through comprehensive planning that takes a holistic and long-term view of the threats and their individual enterprise in order to ensure that the business is prepared to avoid, mitigate, and recover from adverse events. But, what were we doing ourselves? Were we walking the talk?
PrepareAthon 2016 took place August 27, 2016, and offered participants activities and information focused on emergency preparedness; sustainable lifestyle options such as energy saving homes, local food, healthy lifestyles, and stormwater; and adaptation strategies such as installing solar or wind systems. Local emergency responders, including Richmond Fire and Emergency Services and Red Cross representatives, were available, and hands-on workshops — for example, build your own emergency preparedness kit or rain barrel — and a variety of hands-on activities for children and adults were part of the event.
A 2014 research report developed by Grosvenor quantified the resilience of the world’s most important 50 cities based on two criteria: vulnerability and adaptive capability. The Resilient Cities Report collected independent data and created a scale on which to place each of the 50 cities. The results Canadian cities in the top three, with U.S. cities following. A notable conclusion can also be made from the highest forecast population growth occurring in the least resilient cities from the list.
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) produced a report in November 2015 that expanded upon climate impacts addressed in the American Climate Prospectus. The report includes estimates on climate change’s effects on infrastructure, tourism, ecosystems, agriculture, water resources, and human health. Furthermore, the report speaks on the costs of inaction. The report concludes that risks and costs grow with increasing severity of climate change impacts and can be significantly reduced via immediate mitigation actions.
In this climate risk assessment published in June 2014, co-chairs Michael Bloomberg, Henry Paulson Jr. and Thomas Steyer present the details and economic costs of inaction in the face of climate change. The Risky Business report cites the short-term climate threats presented in the U.S. and the specific economic risks they pose to differing regions and sectors. In the report, climate change is likened to “Nature’s Interest-Only Loan” in order to express the economic impact the changing global environment will have in the future. Bloomberg, Paulson and Steyer conclude the risk assessment report with risk management steps to be taken in order to reduce exposure to the economic risks from climate change.
The Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Virginia State University produced this publication in 2014 outlining climate-related challenges facing agriculture and some options for mitigating and adapting to them. Included in the publication are adaptation strategies and conservation techniques touching on soil water-holding capacity, tillage, crop rotations, drainage, irrigation, nitrogen use, and buffers. The online PDF version of the publication is available through the Virginia Cooperative Extension.
The Colorado Resiliency Framework 2016 Annual Plan is an extension of the Colorado Resiliency Framework that was adopted in 2015. This plan details how the Colorado Resiliency Working Group will achieve the goals laid out in the framework, mainly via resiliency-focused projects in the community, economic, health and social, housing, infrastructure, watershed and natural resources sectors.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology has produced two volumes of a Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems. The first volume spends time describing the methodology and provides a fictitious example of the planning process while the second volume provides reference chapters to Volume 1. A four page planning guide brochure is also available for a more succinct guide to community resilience.