New climate insight revealed

Carbon emissions from sourcing, refining, and using fossil fuels for energy is the most significant factor in causing climate change. We are already experiencing disrupted weather patterns and extreme events, but predicting what the consequences of climate change will be in another few decades is challenging. — Image: AP Photo

Losing the signal amongst the noise

Our militaries and insurance industries are the most pragmatic reliable predictors, not for climate change per se, but how we will overcome and cope with the regularity and uncertainty of extreme weather events. — Image: Vallarie Enriquez/NASA

What militaries and the insurance sector predict

Over the past several years, as climate-related disasters have increased in occurrence and severity, the military has more regularly managed and facilitated vital rescue and clean-up missions. — Image: AP Photo/Sang Tan

The future state of our climate

As major rivers are decreasing in flow and aquifers become depleted, it’s predicted desertification and the ability to sustain agriculture will exponentially decrease in our most vulnerable regions. — Image: nfu.org

Food supply, rising costs and political insecurity

There has been a long and sustained increase in food costs, showing no signs of easing. Increasing food prices and unaffordability of certain goods has proven to be a key indicator in social dissatisfaction and likely unrest. — image: Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press
Sea levels have been rising and will continue to cause large-scale flooding and erosion. Both militaries and insurance providers agree that it won’t be significant singular events. Instead, we will see a series of small and incremental damages over many years. — Image: Getty/The Hill

Our seas will continue to rise

As climate change makes life in some regions more complicated, many will leave, placing added pressures on existing and introducing new geopolitical and social tensions. The results of many of these mass migrations will mean that governments will have even less time and resources to address climate impacts. — Image: REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Increased displacement of peoples

The displacement of people caused by political stress, either triggered or made worse by climate change, is a harsh reality of modern times. Nowhere is it more evident than on the southern U.S. border.

Investors and insurance firms are becoming increasingly more aware of climate change and how it will affect markets and certain industries. Something seen to be more sustainable to climate change is less risky and more attractive for those seeking longer-term gains. — Image: Reuters

Entrenched economic woes

Trying to work out how climate change affects us is difficult enough in the current era, let alone predicting what it will be like in another thirty years. However, specific indicators can help gain a more profound overview of the insurance industries’ concerns.

The past few years have seen many unforeseen disasters, such as the devastating flooding of the Ahr Valley in Germany, July 2021. It makes one wonder — are we now living in the dystopian future we had imagined for the future? — Image: AP/Michael Probst

Our dystopian present

This article summarizes the work done and forecasts made by risk management and security experts. At first, one may think it suggests a rather grim and uncomfortable world, whereby 2050, the impacts of climate change carry our civilization from crisis to crisis. Political demagoguery, food insecurity, higher prices, and shortages will be commonplace for all.

Had we, in 1991, said that in thirty years, events of this scale and disruption would be witnessed in just one month, people would have dismissed it as a dystopian and exaggerated view. And yet, this is not the case today.

Both the military and insurance industries seem to be less driven by mitigating against disaster, and instead focus more on adaptation and coping with their inevitability and subsequent rebuilding. — Image: Fairfield City Champion

A source for hope

Based on this assessment, one may easily conclude there is little we can do to avoid the disaster to come, right?

Nothing could be further from the truth. Making projections like this, paying close attention to stakeholders and their future assessments, is invaluable for those seeking pragmatic and practical solutions.

  1. Report on Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense; Department of Defense; January 2019;P17; https://media.defense.gov/2019/Jan/29/2002084200/-1/-1/1/CLIMATE-CHANGE-REPORT-2019.PDF
  2. The Geneva Association; ‘Climate Change Risk for the Insurance Industry; https://www.genevaassociation.org/sites/default/files/research-topics-document-type/pdf_public/climate_risk_web_final_250221.pdf
  3. The International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS); World Climate and Security Report 2021; https://imccs.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/World-Climate-and-Security-Report-2021.pdf
  4. Food and Agriculture Organisation for the United Nations; World Food Situation; FAO Food Price Index; http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/foodpricesindex/en/
  5. US Bureau of Reclamation; July 16 2021; Reclamation’s July 24-Month Study implements contingency operations in the Upper Colorado River Basin; https://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/#/news-release/3917
  6. US Congress, Congressional Budget Office; ‘CBO’s April 2018 Baseline for Farm Programs’; https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/recurringdata/51317-2018-04-usda.pdf
  7. Scientific American; March 2013; ‘Climate Change and Rising Food Prices Heightened Arab Spring’; https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/climate-change-and-rising-food-prices-heightened-arab-spring/
  8. US Department of Defense, Office of the Inspector General; ‘Top DoD Management Challenges, Fiscal Year 2021’ ; 2020; https://media.defense.gov/2020/Nov/18/2002537497/-1/-1/1/TOP%20DOD%20MANAGEMENT%20CHALLENGES%20FISCAL%20YEAR%202021.PDF
  9. Report on Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense; Department of Defense; January 2019; https://media.defense.gov/2019/Jan/29/2002084200/-1/-1/1/CLIMATE-CHANGE-REPORT-2019.PDF
  10. Report on Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense; Department of Defense; January 2019; https://media.defense.gov/2019/Jan/29/2002084200/-1/-1/1/CLIMATE-CHANGE-REPORT-2019.PDF
  11. The Data Centre; August 26 2016; https://www.datacenterresearch.org/data-resources/katrina/facts-for-impact/
  12. Bank of England Prudential Regulation Authority; September 2015; ‘The Impact of Climate Change Upon the UK Insurance Sector’; https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/prudential-regulation/publication/impact-of-climate-change-on-the-uk-insurance-sector.pdf?la=en&hash=EF9FE0FF9AEC940A2BA722324902FFBA49A5A29A
  13. The Centre for Climate and Security; July 13 2021; ‘Central American Climate Migration is a Human Security Crisis’; https://climateandsecurity.org/2021/07/central-american-climate-migration-is-a-human-security-crisis/
  14. The United States Climate Science Special Report; Fourth National Climate Assessment; https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/
  15. Bank of England Prudential Regulation Authority; September 2015; ‘The Impact of Climate Change Upon the UK Insurance Sector’; https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/prudential-regulation/publication/impact-of-climate-change-on-the-uk-insurance-sector.pdf?la=en&hash=EF9FE0FF9AEC940A2BA722324902FFBA49A5A29A
  16. The Geneva Association; ‘Climate Change Risk for the Insurance Industry; https://www.genevaassociation.org/sites/default/files/research-topics-document-type/pdf_public/climate_risk_web_final_250221.pdf
  17. Coroner Recorded Deaths in British Columbia, June 25-July 1 1996–2021;https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/life-events/death/coroners-service/news-and-updates/coroner-responded-deaths
  18. The Guardian, July 6th, 2021; ‘Nordic Countries Endure Heatwave as Lapland records hottest day since 1914’; https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/06/heatwave-hits-nordic-countries-lapland-temperature-
  19. The Guardian, July 5th, 2021; ‘New Zealand Experiences hottest June on record despite Polar blast’;https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/05/new-zealand-experiences-hottest-june-on-record-despite-polar-blast
  20. The Lancet, July 1st 2021; Global, regional, and national burden of mortality associated with non-optimal ambient temperatures from 2000 to 2019: a three-stage modelling study; Prof Qi Zhou. PhD et al; https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(21)00081-4/fulltext
  21. Science; July 20th 2021; Europe’s deadly floods leave scientists stunned; https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/07/europe-s-deadly-floods-leave-scientists-stunned
  22. NBC News; July 20th, 2021; ‘Severe Flooding in Central China kills at least 12, traps subway riders in waist-high water’; https://www.nbcnews.com/news/china/central-china-hit-heavy-floods-leaving-subway-passengers-trapped-waist-n1274481
  23. World Health Organisation; Health Topics- Floods Overview; https://www.who.int/health-topics/floods#tab=tab_1

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A multidisciplinary team that creates better futures by applying systems thinking to solve complex sustainability challenges.

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