Climate Change a “Massively Huge”​ Private Sector Opportunity​

Climate change represents a profound risk to the global economy.

In fact, for perspective, President Trump’s administration assessed that in the U.S. alone the economy “could lose hundreds of billions of dollars — or in the worst-case scenario, more than 10% of its GDP — by the end of the century.”

A sobering assessment indeed, but also a compelling call to action.

As Sun Tzu is quoted as saying, “in the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” What was true in 500 BC is equally true today, and while the risks are real and profound, the opportunities for the private sector are equally real and profound.

I was speaking with a colleague on this topic last week and he noted that the opportunity for business to create value from sustainability is ” … massively huge.”

I think he was correct.

In fact, I believe climate change represents a profound opportunity for global businesses to do really well while doing good.

“Lead, follow, or the get the hell out of the way” – Lt Gen George S. Patton

I started my career (back before electricity) as a weather forecaster in the U.S. Air Force and Army — it’s where I learned my chops as both a meteorologist and operations analyst.

In the military weather information is used by warfighters to create strategies and execute tactics. It’s a force multiplier that, when used correctly (using analytics and integrated into the planning process) creates tactical surprise on the battlefield.

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And of course in the literal fog of war to proactively leverage this kind of intelligence requires the ability to operate in conditions that are profoundly risky with outcomes that are profoundly uncertain.

In many ways, everything I learned about creating resilience and operational sustainability I learned as the Chief, Weather Operations of the 101st Airborne Division — it was quite literally forged on the battlefield.

Since joining the private sector twenty years ago I’ve been focused on helping global businesses — primarily in the consumer and financial services sector — leverage weather (and by default, climate) “intelligence” in much the same way.

It’s been a long slog in a space that has to date been relatively nascent, but the trend lines are changing — fast!

If you can make it here …

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The acquisition of The Weather Company by IBM in 2015, was, I believe, a transformative moment in the applied enterprise use of weather and climate information.

It was validation of the “massively huge” opportunity and it has helped to catalyze investment and innovation in the development of sustainable technologies and services.

Climate City Expo

Of course, as the applied use of weather and climate information becomes mainstreamed, amazing new organizations like the Collider in Asheville, North Carolina are being launched as platforms to propel the growth.

I’m looking forward to speaking more on this topic at the Collider’s (very cool!) Climate City Expo business event in Asheville on April 2d and 3rd.

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Here’s a snap shot of some of what will be discussed:

  • “For an issue as pervasive and wicked as climate change, scalable technology holds unique promise as a way to rapidly disseminate intelligence and tools needed to inform and guide action on the ground. How is climate tech changing the landscape of climate adaptation and resilience? What new opportunities are arising due to emerging technologies, and where do we still need new innovation and investment?”

If you’re coming to the event, I look forward to seeing you!

If you aren’t able to come, watch this space. I plan to follow-up with a blog post and, possibly, a video of my keynote.

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