Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change and Weather Extremes
Chapter 1: Organizations and global environmental change
Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the middle of the eighteenth century, global concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) have risen significantly and have substantially contributed to the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere through the so-called greenhouse effect. The increase in CO2 concentrations can primarily be attributed to the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil, as well as land-use changes such as deforestation. Increases in methane and nitrous oxide have primarily been linked to agriculture expansion and intensification (CSIRO, 2009). Examples include methane emissions from livestock and rice cultivation, or emissions of nitrous oxide from fertilized soils (Foley et al., 2011). Even though the extent to which climate change will impact society is still debated, it is clear that the role of business activity is a key matter in the debate about climate change. Businesses have been central to the creation of the wealth and technologies that have transformed society (Michaelis, 2003), but, at the same time, economic growth has also been a major driver behind the intensification of natural resource use and consumption to unsustainable levels. Overall, there are very few aspects of current society that are not organized into or impacted upon by corporate activities. Consolidating and systemizing human production efforts into organizations has allowed for the accomplishment of economic activities beyond the means of individuals.