Amidst the frenzy of investment and product launches that characterises the clean tech sector it is sometimes easy to lose sight of exactly what is at stake.
This is entirely understandable given that unless you are a particularly virulent misanthrope it is far more exciting to write and talk about solar cell breakthroughs, pioneering clean tech business models, burgeoning green investment funds and plants with funny names that might just save the world, than it is to bang on about impending apocalypse.
Hell, it's even more appealing to talk about new green accountancy models than it is to have a cheerful chat about humanity's chances of making it to the end of the century.
Moreover, there is a strong strategic argument for playing down the scale of threat posed by climate change in order to guard against defeatism.
And yet at the same time many businesses' tendency to focus on the opportunities presented by the fight against climate change while paying scant regard to its accompanying risks is not only short sighted, it poses a severe threat to the long term health of their business.
Several weeks ago I gave a presentation at an event on green marketing in which I pointed out that few businesses will maximise their long term investments in India and China if the two economic titans end up pointing their nuclear war heads at each other in a stand off over water. It actually got a laugh, which I found a bit strange firstly because I was being entirely serious and secondly because, frankly, I'm no Peter Ustinov when it comes to the public speaking.
The sheer scale of the threat posed by climate change was hammered home again this week with a new report from defence think tank the Royal United Services Institute detailing how climate change will lead to a severe deterioration in global security. The more morally repugnant corners of the defence industry might be rubbing their hands together at the reports predictions of a century long conflict on a scale of the two World Wars, but the rest of us are more likely to be asking ourselves what can be done to avoid this catastrophic scenario.
Businesses need to be assessing these risks and constantly reminding themselves that climate change strategies must take a duel-pronged approach: simultaneously hoping for the best through investment in clean technologies, while planning for the worst through adaptation measures.
Even at a micro scale firms should be undertaking climate change risk assessments capable of identifying where their operations and sales are at most risk from disruption.
Sadly, as KPMG's recent report into climate change risks shows this is simply not happening with many of the world's largest industries simply refusing to face up to the environmental challenges they face.
It can be depressing to envisage a world akin to that in Cormac McCarthy's The Road, and as such it is understandable why so many businesses, and governments for that matter (we're looking at you Mr Bush), are tempted to water down the scale of the threat. But it is only in undertaking a realistic assessment of possible threats that businesses and economies can build true resilience and begin to recognise new opportunities ahead of the competition.
Right, I'm off to try and weigh the carbon in an email.
Have a good weekend.
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