Flood water has damaged an estimated 1,230 buildings in Fort McMurray, Alberta, including more than 1,000 homes and businesses in the city’s lower core fronting onto the Clearwater River, and 49 structures in the Taiga Nova industrial park bordering the Athabasca River.
As floodwaters regularly rise in southeast Louisiana, so do the costs to protect communities. Understanding the true costs of climate risks like sea level rise, and greater frequency of floods and hurricanes, will inform better decision-making by residents and policy makers alike.
Much of the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic is due to its nonlinearity. In our highly connected and increasingly complex world, we can anticipate more of these kinds of events, which is why we’ve developed forward-looking scenarios that help decision-makers plan for, and hedge against, the worst effects.
The Covid-19 pandemic could be a dry run for future impacts of climate change, with challenging and unprecedented situations requiring rapid and aggressive responses worldwide. A proactive approach to climate change aimed at minimizing such impacts will inevitably involve significant cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and investment in more resilient infrastructure. Although current global mitigation and adaptation efforts are proceeding slowly, one emerging strategy could serve as an accelerant: the financial disclosure of climate risk by companies. Such disclosure, if practiced more widely and consistently, could lower the risks of climate change by redirecting investments away from GHG-emitting activities and pinpointing infrastructure that needs to be made more resilient.
Developing scenarios that enable the disclosure of financial risks related to climate change is precisely what we do at Riskthinking. To learn more, visit the Home page or drop us a line: [email protected]
Around the world, central banks are scrambling to tackle the economic and financial damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, announcing interest rate cuts and asset purchase programs to shore up economies and a range of regulatory and supervisory measures to maintain financial stability and ensure liquidity.
The human tendency to impose a single interpretation in ambiguous situations carries huge dangers in addressing COVID-19. We need to search actively for multiple interpretations, and governments need to choose policies that are robust if their preferred theory turns out to be wrong, argues Nick Chater.
Narratives of change are ambiguous; they can be narratives of risk (the technoscientific version of danger) or they can be narratives of adaptation (contributing to increase agency enhancing capacities).
One common insight across the special issue relates to the multiple dimensions of change, danger and risk, implying that reductive definitions alone are often insufficient to describe and explain current political and governance processes. Complex accounts of change must help understand the many-faceted phenomenon of climate change, which will be crucial in thinking about how to meet and limit future impacts, how to envisage a future sustainable society, and how to deploy inclusive, diverse and democratic trans-disciplinary science.
In October 2018, Ron Dembo was driving through an area of burned forest in Northern California.
The CEO and founder of Toronto-based Riskthinking.ai, Dembo had been invited to give a keynote speech at the conference of the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), one of the world’s largest electricity distributors. Dembo had previously built Algorithmics Inc., which became the world’s largest enterprise risk management software provider. He was headed to the conference to discuss a new kind of “risk thinking” that he believes could supplant existing forecasting strategies.
“Every decision we make today affects our future,” Dembo says. “Yet, whether we are a corporation or an individual, our decision-making today is primarily guided by our attempts to forecast our future. Traditional forecasting doesn’t work well, because past data is of minor use in our fast-changing climate reality. Nearly every commercial and non-commercial sector—from finance, insurance, energy and transportation to local and federal municipalities—is affected.”