This past month has brought more ominous warnings on the environment and the effects of global warming than ever before, and the calls for action are growing. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report on February 2nd with more than 2500 reserachers from 130 nations contributing. This is the most comprehensive overview of climate change yet, with a real potential impact on worldwide public policy. The IPCC says that it is now “very likely” — or at least a 90% probability — that rising temperatures are due to increased human-caused carbon emissions. Dire predictions and calls for action were also heard at the World Economic Forum in Davos, stating “in the last five years the situation has gone from bad to worse.” To make matters worse, this past winter has been the warmest winter in recorded history, and scientists are learning that the warmer winter is causing billions of dollars in crop damage.
The response has been swift and significant. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in the UK, Gordon Brown, soon expected to be the next Prime Minister after Tony Blair steps down, has publicly called for a “new world order” to combat the threat of climate change. The European Union is also imposing a ban on conventional light bulbs, replacing them with energy-saving bulbs within two years. Australia and Canada are taking similar steps.
These new developments point to accelerating trends that will affect all kinds of businesses in a myriad of ways. It’s growing more and more likely that there will be some kind of regulation of greenhouse gase emissions. There will be opportunities as well — from standing out from the competition with environmental responsibility to new products and technologies that help solve pieces of the problem.
How are you and your organization responding to the trends, threats, and opportunities presented by global warming issues?