It seems like everywhere we look – in the media, journals, classrooms, and the business world – we hear about climate change and its impact on living creatures, the environment, the economy, and business. Because of this, it can be easy to “tune out” (as we tend to do when satiated), so it is vital we keep the conversation current and dynamic.
Given the alarming statistics (of which we will touch on below), based on collaboration with governmental agencies and businesses nationwide, The Risk Institute explores this topic annually – bringing together experts across industries to engage in conversation, review data, share information, and take a deeper dive into the impacts and potential solutions.
The Risk Institute’s September 23, 2021, Eighth Annual Conference: Weather & Climate Risk and Business Resilience (register here), will explore the impact weather and climate change have on business, including supply chains, fleets, financial markets, and more. In connection, the Institute will explore ways businesses can adopt more sustainable practices and build resiliency.
In the first half of 2021 (as of July 9), the U.S. has experienced eight weather/climate disaster events, each with losses exceeding $1 billion: one drought, two floods, four severe storms, and one winter storm. These events, collectively, have resulted in 331 deaths and significant economic impacts on the areas affected.
These events are happening more often and becoming exponentially more impactful. In fact, in recent years, the frequency of these events has more than doubled: from 1980–2020, the annual average was 7.1 events (CPI-adjusted); in comparison, the annual average for the most recent five years (2016–2020) is 16.2 events (CPI-adjusted).
Here is a look at a few events that have happened over just the past few weeks that are currently having major impacts on countries worldwide, including the U.S., our neighbors, and our allies.
According to the Washington Post, the all-time high of 121 degrees Fahrenheit set in British Columbia this past Tuesday, July 1, has left weather and climate experts all over the world “shocked, speechless, and deeply concerned about the future of the planet.”
This recording is higher than any temperature recorded in the Lower 48 states – outside the Desert Southwest (only four states have seen a higher temperature). It is four degrees above Las Vegas’s all-time high of 117 and just one degree from Phoenix’s all-time high of 122.
It is the most extreme high temperature observed north of 45 degrees latitude and is hotter than any temperature observed in Europe or South America, according to world weather records expert Maximiliano Herrera. Only 26 countries on the planet have been as hot or hotter, they say.
As per NBC News, the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) reported recently that more than 2.25 million acres have been burned since the beginning of the year, compared to 1.7 million acres in the same period in 2020. In connection, over 70 wildfires across a dozen states have incinerated a combined area larger than Rhode Island.
These fires take their toll on communities and businesses alike and exert considerable pressure on firefighting resources, firefighters, and support personnel.
Fire seasons “are lasting longer. Fires are more intense … we’re seeing a sustained level of fire activity year-round, but certainly, this is the height of it for us this year,” said NIFC spokesperson Stanton Florea.
“The need for action to protect our climate, and to mitigate the effects of climate change, becomes clearer with each passing year and each round of devastating fires,” Colville Tribal Chairman Andrew “Badger” Joseph Jr. said
According to NPR , within the last ten days, Germany and Belgium have been devastated by the worst flooding experienced in that area of Europe for decades. The floods have killed at least 120 people to date, and German officials report that search and rescue efforts continue for over a thousand people who are still unaccounted for.
Officials were quick to express that they attribute global warming to be at least partially to blame for this catastrophe, with Environment Minister Svenja Schulze adding that “climate change has arrived in Germany.”
In parallel with leaders worldwide, the country’s President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, is focusing their attention on strategies and actions that need to be taken to prevent this type of disaster in the future.
“Only if we take up the fight against climate change decisively, will we be able to prevent extreme weather conditions such as those we are experiencing,” Steinmeier said.
The Risk Institute’s upcoming September 23, 2021, Eighth Annual Conference: Weather & Climate Risk and Business Resilience, will provide an opportunity to hear expert perspectives on a wide variety of climate-related disasters as they collaborate to highlight the data and consider proactive options going forward.
Click here to sign up for the conference which, like last year’s, will be hosted virtually.
The Institute will be adding more speakers to the lineup in the coming weeks. Details about the speakers (as well as the topics of their discussions) will be revealed soon.
Current speakers (as of July 26) include:
- Jon Davis & David Shillingford, Everstream Analytics
- Carter Brandon, World Resources Institute
- Carsten Luetzenkirchen, DHL
- Sandra Nessing & Lisa Groff, AEP
- Jim Nerger, Roanoke Insurance
- George Gonczar, Huntington National Bank
- Joseph Fiksel, OSU
- Bob Litterman, Chairman of the Risk Committee; Kepos Capital
- Matt Eichmann, Greif
- Samantha Batey, Palantir Technologies