Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change and Weather Extremes
Gradual, longer-term environmental changes associated with climate change are most likely the types of changes to which organizations can more easily adapt to. Of particular concern not just for organizations and industries, but also for society at large, are changes in the number and/or frequency of weather extremes (such as heavy rainfall, heat waves or storms) and potentially even more drastic and lasting changes in the Earth’s climate (Alley et al., 2003; Wilbanks et al., 2007b). Any climate-change related changes to the frequency and/or severity of extreme weather events will be particularly impactful for sectors with a high risk of exposure – those dependent on large-scale infrastructure including the energy, transportation and agriculture sectors, as well as those managing, financing or insuring these infrastructures (Linnenluecke et al., 2012). However, while extreme events are particularly impactful, gradual changes may also build up and exceed thresholds at which effects become notable (Wilbanks et al., 2007b). For instance, the extensive drought in California in 2013–14 has posed significant strains on California’s system of dams and reservoirs, thus reaching critically low levels of water supply. The State Water Project, which provides added water supplies to a large percentage of the state’s population and farmland, had to reduce allocations. It is certainly important to note that not all changes in climate will automatically result in negative consequences for all industry sectors.
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